Smoking, drinking, love and more
As we grow up we all want to try new things, as well as having to deal with changes that are happening to our bodies. You can do the same stuff as people who don’t have diabetes; you just need to look after your diabetes as well. Remember to let your friends know you have diabetes and when you’re out and about wear some form of personal and diabetes ID; just in case something unexpected happens. We do not recommend or advocate drinking, smoking or taking illegal drugs. Remember that smoking, alcohol and illegal drugs are harmful for anyone (and taking drugs is breaking the law) so you should not feel pressured to do these things just because the people around you are.
Your body and the ways you think, feel and behave change a lot as you go through your teenage years. These changes affect everyone and perhaps a little more when you have diabetes.
- One thing that happens during puberty is that you grow fast. Insulin actually helps you to grow, so you’ll find that the insulin doses during teenage years will increase considerably
- If you don’t increase insulin enough, the blood glucose levels will remain too high and the doctors will say the long-term glucose test (HbA1c) is high. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you need to keep increasing insulin for several years to keep the glucose tests under control.
- Your appetite during this growth phase will probably increase and there’s a tendency to put on too much weight. This is made worse perhaps by doing less exercise and by the temptations of going out to fast food shops with friends. Just be careful that you don’t overeat too much and try to choose the healthier food options
- During adolescence you’ll want to keep up with your friends and experience new things. This is a time of trial and error and like most people who have to take medicines you might want to find out just how much insulin you need to keep OK. It’s not uncommon for people of your age to miss out doses of insulin to see what happens. What always happens is that blood glucose levels go up and it makes the control unstable for a period of time. Sometimes the experiment goes wrong and you end up in hospital completely out of control with dangerously high blood glucose levels and ketones – called diabetic ketoacidosis - and perhaps in a coma. So beware of doing too many experiments with your diabetes!
- Many adults also say that adolescence is a time of rebellion. Well it’s a time when you want to show your independence and your own sense of responsibility. Most parents find this growing independence a difficult time. So, talk about it together and negotiate deals. Basically parents want to know that you’re safe and are acting in a mature way towards other people and your diabetes. Go for it!
- Parents don’t want to be kept in the dark, even if they seem to want you to take over. Keep them in touch and help them to continue sharing responsibilities
- It’s best not to fight over diabetes – it only ends in tears. Talk and share your problems and don’t forget you might be finding diabetes a real chore but other people close to you also find it difficult. So chat and both admit that diabetes can be quite a challenge.