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From Ohio, USA:

I received a kidney/pancreas transplant 5 years ago and am doing rt group at the local hospital on why you should take care of yourself when you're a diabetic. I would like to find out what I should tell these teens and what they should know.


I think it is great that you are willing to share your difficult experiences to help others prevent these problems.

A few suggestions:

  1. Keep in mind that you may have a mixed group of people. Some teens may be very afraid of developing complications, some may be very compliant, some may not worry about the future, and some may be very rebellious.
  2. I think you should stress that good control can decrease the chance of developing complications, but should acknowledge that perfect control is almost impossible for most teens in 1997.
  3. I think it is important to remember that some people may still get complications even if they try very hard to manage their diabetes and others may be lucky and not develop problems even if they aren't that careful.
  4. I think it is important to remember that some teens will find it harder to get good control than others even if they try as hard or even harder than those with better control.
  5. I think it is important to realize that many teens don't worry about the future, or may even ask why work so hard if you can't guarantee them 100% that they won't develop complications.
  6. Many teens who don't worry about the future will care about the present. Sometimes you can motivate a teenager to work hard at controlling their diabetes by reminding them that teens in poor control may not grow normally and may wind up short as adults.
  7. Some teens don't care about the symptoms of high or low blood sugars, but may be willing to try harder to control their blood sugar if they realize that they are faster or better in sports when their blood sugar is under control. (It is hard to run fast when your blood sugar is high and you have a full bladder or when your blood sugar is low).
  8. Be prepared for questions that you can't answer or don't feel comfortable answering. Don't hesitate to suggest that they contact their own physician, dietitian, or nurse educator for answers to these questions. (In fact you should encourage them to have good communication with their diabetes team.)
  9. Remember everyone is different. It is fine to describe your own personal experiences, but don't give specific advice to any teen. Suggest that they discuss any individual issues with a member of their own diabetes team.
Good luck at your meeting!


Original posting 2 Apr 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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