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From Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:

My 13 year old son has just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and I am very concerned about how he will adapt to this with regard to diet, planning ahead and maintaining the necessary discipline to keep himself healthy. I don't want it to become an issue over which he seeks to rebel, but I am worried that he does not fully understand the long term repercussions of not managing his diabetes properly and think that real stories about real people may get this through to him.

How can I support him in making these adjustments without scaring him by stating the facts too pointedly? Are there any web sites which give details of patients who have not managed their diabetes and ended up needing kidney transplants? Are there any web sites to help all of us become more informed as we come to terms with this also?


I think you are right to suppose that managing diabetes could be quite a challenge to a beginning teenager, and it is splendid that you are concerned, and his father too, I hope. I do however feel that trying to get compliance by illustrations of complications is not the way to go.

I think you should start by learning all you can about the management of diabetes at this age and you might look for some of the new gadgets for giving insulin and checking blood sugar. These, together with insulin regimens, have made good control much simpler and in someways more appealing to a technically inclined adolescent. Sustaining interest in active sports would also be an important contribution.

Perhaps most important of all though, I would suggest that you try to organise his care through a team that comprises not only the doctor, but a dietitian, a nurse educator and a medical social worker. They are likely to be a little more successful than you in detecting lapses in control and in stage managing improvement. I hope this is of some help and perhaps the best that cane be done with the limitations of e-mail.


Original posting 3 Jun 2003
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:46
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