From Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA:
I am 19 years old and have had Type 1 diabetes since the age of 3 months. People are telling me when you have diabetes for more than 17 years you begin to develop complications. It has been very hard to maintain good control over the years. My blood sugar level can be high and drop very low very quickly. I am in contact with my doctor twice a week and more if necessary (since my diagnosis) to adjust insulins. I have taken 2 shots per day since the age of 6. He said complications do occur after long periods of time that is why I must keep all appointments, tests, etc. How will I know if I am developing complications from diabetes? I also have Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, hypothyroidism and am on a lot of medications for these.
You certainly don't have your troubles to seek but, by the sound of things, you have a good relationship with your doctor. You should know that there is now conclusive evidence that the risk of complications is related to blood sugar control over the long term. Every patient with diabetes has some high sugars and some lows but that doesn't mean you have poor control.
The best guide is haemoglobin A1c - a measure of "sugariness" over 3 months. I am sure you have been having this measured regularly. Part of your doctor's role is to check regularly for signs of early - and treatable - complications. In particular, to check for microalbumin (small amounts of protein) in your urine and to look at the back of your eyes for signs of blood vessel damage. Picking these problems up early gives the opportunity to do something about them. You certainly don't need twice weekly medical contact for this aspect of diabetes care but you and your doctor may be comfortable with this in order to keep you on track.
Original posting 4 Oct 1998
Posted to Complications
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:00
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