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August 14, 2000

Behavior

Question from Texas, USA:

I am a 13 year old who was diagnosed at age six. I used to take good care of myself but now that I'm a teenager I don't. I'm involved in sports and a lot of after and before school activities. My blood sugars are never good and even sometimes I'll forget shots.

Answer:

You should be commended for your involvement in after school activities and sports! And most importantly, you have recognized that good blood sugar management is important and you are asking for help. The best place to start is with frequent blood glucose monitoring. I know that monitoring is sometimes frustrating, especially when the numbers are high. Remember, the numbers are not “good or bad” — they are simply a tool on which you, your parents and your healthcare team can base decisions about insulin, carbohydrate management, even exercise! There are many small, fast, convenient meters available to check blood sugar. If you don’t already have one, do get yourself one.

To manage exercise blood sugars you will need to self-monitor both before and after exercise. This will allow you to see how exercise itself affects your blood sugar, as well as to see where your levels are before exercise at that particular time of day. Write the numbers down and watch for patterns. You will learn a lot this way! Work with your own diabetes team to control any highs or consistent lows you are having. Remember, you are the most important member of your diabetes team!

If you are forgetting shots, you may want to ask about the possibility of an insulin pen. It is a convenient way to carry insulin, and may be helpful to you. An insulin pump may also be a consideration down the road, however a pump does require a great deal of thought, motivation, commitment, and frequent blood glucose monitoring 4-8 times per day. Having said that though, there are lots of teens and adults who successfully use and love insulin pumps. Talk to your diabetes team; they can help you find the options that work for you!

DMW