The American Diabetes Association
notes that about 208,000 people in the U.S. under age 20 have diabetes. Most of them
have type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to occur mostly in adults ages 45 and older.
But now it is more common in younger people. This is from rising rates of obesity in
children and teens.
The teen years can be a challenge
for any child as he or she goes through sexual and emotional changes. It can be more of
a challenge for teens with diabetes. Teens want to "fit in." Being different in any way
from his or her peers can be stressful.
A teen who used to follow his or
her diabetes management plan may now refuse to do so. A teen may feel in denial of the
disease. He or she may have aggressive behavior around managing diabetes. For example,
some teens will skip insulin injections to lose weight.
One aspect of diabetes management
is blood sugar control. This is especially hard during the teen years. Researchers
believe the growth hormone made during adolescence that causes bone and muscle growth
may also act as an anti-insulin agent. Blood sugar levels become harder to control. This
results in levels that swing from too low to too high. This lack of control over blood
sugar levels can be very stressful for your teen.