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February 25, 2004

A1c (Glycohemoglobin, HgbA1c), Daily Care

Question from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA:

How long does puberty typically last? I know that blood sugars can be a little erratic during this time. It seems as though no two weeks are the same, blood sugar wise, even though we are not doing anything much differently from week to week. I know hormones play a part in this, but I get a little frustrated with going back to the drawing board almost daily to try to get this "perfect" to avoid complications for my son later on. Also, is having an A1c under eight achievable during puberty? The frustrating part to all of this is not being able to have consistantly "normal" sugars all day, despite best efforts.


You will find plenty of information by using the search feature of the children with diabetes web site about the difficulties of controlling diabetes during puberty. Your question ‘how long does puberty last?’ is the same as ‘how long is a piece of string?’. However, it is fair to say that for some teenagers the fluctuations last for several years. It is rare that they are all due to physiology and hormone changes. Although this certainly plays a part, the whole package of growing independence, reluctance to manage diabetes meticulously, and peer group pressure to be ‘normal’ with regard to eating, etc. are also factors.