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My son is now 15 years old. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while still 14. He is very athletic and very studious. He is a straight A student and plays baseball and football. He did not go out for football this year because of fear of low sugars and the fact that he is only 130 lbs. and 6'1". He seems to have a good handle on his diabetes. He has handled the shots, the food changes and everything else. However, we have found cigarettes and a small bag of marijuana in his room. Could you please tell me and him the dangers of both especially in relationship to his diabetes?


I suggest if you haven't already told your son that you found cigarettes and marijuana in his room, that you sit down and have a talk with him. If he really wanted to keep this a secret from you, he wouldn't have left them where you could find them. Communication between parents and teens is very important, especially when the teen has diabetes.

Are you sure that your son is really coping with the diabetes as well as you think? In my experience, it is very common for teens who cope extremely well initially after diagnosis, to go on several months later and become depressed when the reality hits them that they really wish that the diabetes could go away. They are often hesitant to admit that they need some more help and support.

If your son is afraid his blood sugar will go low with sports, he should speak to his doctor to find out how he might adjust his food and/or insulin to prevent the lows. 130 pounds sounds thin for someone who is 6 foot, 1 inch tall. Has he ever regained his weight after diagnosis? Is it possible is appetite is poor due to depression? You might want to discuss this with his doctor.

As to your specific questions, as I'm sure both you and your son know, cigarette smoking isn't healthy for any one. If you have diabetes, however, cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing complications from diabetes later on (such as heart disease, eye disease, and kidney problems).

There is less information available about the effects of marijuana on diabetes as it is illegal in the US. However, it apparently can increase the appetite and thereby indirectly increase the blood sugar if it causes you to eat more than usual. On the other hand, if you become high and forget to eat, your blood sugar may fall. If you forget to take your insulin, your blood sugar will rise and you may develop ketoacidosis.

Hope things work out for your son.


Original posting 13 Oct 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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