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Growing Up with Diabetes: 3 Tips for the Teen Years

By Amanda Sheldon

Managing Editor

Posted:  3/15/2011 12:00 AM


While all parents struggle when our kids hit the teenage years and we have to start “letting go” a bit, it’s especially hard when your child has diabetes. We asked Karen Biastre to give us her perspective and tips for how her family manages now that her teenage son Nate is looking for a little more freedom. Have any tips to add? Be sure to let us know in the comments! 
- Amanda

As a parent, I’m constantly concerned for the safety of Nate, my 15-year-old son with Type 1 Diabetes. I especially worry now that he’s a teenager and spending more time with his friends and less time home in the safe hands of Mom and Dad. What I worry most about is that he’ll have a low blood sugar and will not have anyone around who will know how or be able to help him.

Here are three ways our family is getting through this difficult time.

1) Insulin Pump Therapy
Nate has been using an insulin pump for five of the six years he’s been living with Type 1 diabetes. He is currently using the Pardigm Revel insulin pump in conjunction with the continuous glucose monitor. We found early on that using these two devices together gives him much more control than multiple daily insulin injections.

2) Predictive Alerts
Nate started using the Revel this year, and we’ve found our favorite feature to be the predictive alerts. They alarm and let Nate know if his blood sugar is trending in an upward or downward direction before he actually becomes low or high. Having a heads-up like this gives Nate time to treat an impending low or high blood sugar and correct it before his glucose levels become dangerous.

I love knowing Nate is getting an advanced warning and is aware of what his glucose levels are doing. I see the predictive alerts as an added safety net that gives him freedom. He is able  to be out and about with his friends knowing the alerts will give him enough time to treat himself and not have to rely on anyone else around him to help if an emergency situation arises.

3) Communication
Nate was only nine when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. So, we’ve spent six years so far dealing with this disease. We tried to make sure that the lines of communication between us, Nate and his healthcare providers were always open and that Nate took an active role in his diabetes management. Now, even though I’m always concerned about him, I have to take a deep breath and trust that he understands his condition, takes it seriously and will come to us when he needs our help.

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

Please visit for complete safety information.



Michael Hoskins

Posted on Mon Mar 21 15:38:25 GMT 2011

This is a great post, and overall it's great to see Minimed entering the blogosphere to keep in touch with patients and the broader Diabetes Community. Thank you for sharing this perspective online.

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