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January 30, 2003

Complications

Question from England:

My 17 month old baby boy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two months ago, his blood sugar levels are good, and he does not mind the injections too much. Can you tell me what problems he is likely to encounter in the future as he has contracted it at such a young age? Are there more long term health risks than if say he did not encounter it until he was, say, 50 years old?

Answer:

Of course, 17 months is very young to develop diabetes, and I suppose inevitably, the relative risk of problems is lower if you are older when you develop the condition. However, this is not a helpful way to think about it. It’s better to determine to get off to a good start with care over diet and insulin management. Your son will grow up with diabetes, and you should intend to teach him (with help from his diabetes team) how to care for it properly so as to minimise the risks of complications.

KJR