Managing Type 1 Diabetes Can Stress Teens

Glucose levels tend to rise, study finds, as youths control their own care

WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Teens with type 1 diabetes may need help as they begin taking more responsibility for monitoring their blood glucose levels and administering insulin, a new study suggests.

Researchers monitored 147 diabetic teens for six months. Overall, conflict levels between parent and child stayed fairly steady during this time. But, the study found that younger teens who started taking more responsibility for their own care and who had more conflict with parents became less diligent about monitoring their blood glucose levels and had increased levels of hemoglobin A1c -- a measure of how well blood glucose has been controlled over time.

The rise in A1c levels is typical of what occurs during late adolescence and early adulthood, according to study co-author Korey Hood, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

"What you tend to see as you look at large-scale clinical data is that A1c trends from the age of 12 or 13 steadily climb into young adulthood, and then it starts to decline in the mid-20s," Hood said in a news release from the Center for the Advancement of Health.

The study was published online April 7 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"This transition from managing diabetes with the parents to independent management is a huge issue," Aaron Kowalski, assistant vice president for glucose control research at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said in the news release.

Not only do the teens face the typical stresses and peer pressure of adolescence, he noted, but they also have to deal with increased responsibility for controlling their diabetes.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about type 1 diabetes.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, April 8, 2010
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