Teenage Diabetics at Risk...

by Donna Dexford (UK)

My name is Donna. I am now 40 years old and was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic when I was aged 2.

In the 38 years that I have been diabetic, a lot (and I mean a lot) has changed. Not only in the way that you inject the insulin into yourself (I remember having to sterilise the syringe and needles for using again and again) but there is so much more freedom now in what you can eat, drink and do. And also in people's perception of what a diabetic can and cannot do.

At the age I am now I have many health issues, mostly to do with diabetes.

It's easier in this day and age to live with the disease than it was many years ago.

However, one thing that will remain the same throughout the coming years if you are diagnosed diabetic as a child and that is in the teenage years.

Are You a Teenager?

The first point is your diabetic self, you will rebel and if you use your diabetes be warned, at the time that you are playing around with your diabetes (i.e.. not doing your blood sugars or missing injections or drinking too much) it will throw your sugars out, it will come back and bite you on the bum.

I rebelled and, at the age of 24, I was told I had retinopathy which is bleeding blood vessels at the back of the eye. I have had over 3000 laser blasts on the back of both eyes and I am now registered as partially sighted. This is due to rebelling as a diabetic teenager.

I have a kidney problem, this is due to being a rebellious diabetic teenager.

The nerve endings in my stomach sometimes tells my body that what I have in my stomach needs to come out, so I am sick for hours on end. That was caused by being a rebellious teenager.

I have heart problems, poor circulation and calcification of the legs (hardening of the blood vessels) etc etc etc. I think you get the picture.

Admittedly not all the problems I now suffer from are totally down to being a rebellious teenager. Some of them are down to the results of being long term diabetic but I can assure you, the rebellious teenager stuff did not help.

For the Parents of teenage diabetics here is something that you probably need to know and understand...

When I recently told my parents that I could go blind they said it was my fault for rebelling as a teenager. This is something that I should have said to them, but didn't, and this is something that you need to be told or warned about.

When your child rebels as a teenager with their diabetes, the chances are they are not rebelling because they are diabetic, they are using the one thing to hand to rebel and invariably it is the diabetes.

Even though I have had diabetes for a long time and do have health issues with it I now understand, as an adult, how important it is to

1. Keep my diabetes under control.
2. Do regular blood checks.
3. Attend diabetic appointments at the Doctor/Clinic

and finally

4. OK, so you may have diabetes and sometimes you feel the world is against you but you can live life to the full.


If you have (or are) a teenager coping with diabetes have a look at this colourful guide Tips for Teens with Type 2 Diabetes. It contains useful info for type 1 diabetics as well.

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