From Tucson, Arizona, USA:
My sister who is 17 has had Type 1 diabetes since she was 12. She does not keep a well maintained diet and her blood sugar is always high. She also drinks and smokes occasionally. Could you please send me information on the effects of these bad habits can have on her and also is there any update on a cure for this disease? I heard Mexico is doing transplants; are they safe?
It is very difficult to see someone hurting their health, isn't it? Especially when you love them.
A teenager with diabetes is caught in the pull between childhood and adulthood. It is their developmental task to rebel and take control away from family members. However, it is not a time when the best decisions are made.
Drinking can mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia and also raise blood sugars. Smoking constricts blood flow and harms the body in all the recognized ways we read about. Both are risky behaviors for people with diabetes regardless of age. Strict adherence to a meal plan is not likely in teenagers and is a lesser concern long term. So you have to pick your battles well when dealing with this age group.
Original posting 5 Mar 1998
Posted to Daily Care
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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