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From Denver, Colorado, USA:

I am a 19 year old type 1 diabetic female in college. I have excellent control of my diabetes, my blood sugars are within range over 90% of the time and I test seven times a day. My question is in regard to the psychological/social issues that sometimes trouble diabetics around my age, who may be working part time as well as attending college. Although I take a very active role in taking good care of my disease, I seem to be struggling enormously in school and at work. It's quite often that I spend many uninterrupted hours trying to get simple homework assignments finished; it's as if I have cognitive road barriers. I am very intelligent, the kind of girl who studies for fun and yet I have, at best, a lower ranging C average. I'm constantly on the edge, because if I get D's I do not receive credits and, if that happens, I lose the insurance I have through my mother's employer. As of late, all the stress that this causes me has put me into a highly unmotivated state. Despite this, I am still actively taking good care of myself. Unfortunately, I'm just suffering in all other aspects and I feel there's absolutely nothing I can do to change this anxiety. Is there something I can do?


Yes, there are many things you can do. The first thing you need to do is to talk with your diabetes team about your struggles. They may have many wonderful ideas about how to help you. It is extremely unusual for any individual living with diabetes to keep their blood sugars in their target range more than about 60% of the time. If you are, indeed, keeping your blood sugars in range around 90% of the time, are you having frequent low blood sugars, under 70 mg/dl [3.9 mmol/L]? If so, that can significantly impact your concentration, learning, planning, organization and memory skills, and may be the cause of your academic struggles. The second thing you need to do is to talk with a mental health professional with expertise in working with young adults who live with diabetes. This person will also be able to help you explore the various factors that are contributing to your decline in grades, and help you develop strategies and skills that will get you back on-track. You are fortunate enough to live in a city with lots of diabetes-experts.


Original posting 3 Apr 2004
Posted to Mental Health


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:56
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