Diabetes is a growing problem in the world today. Type 2 diabetes has received a great deal of time in the media because of the prevalence of obesity related diabetes. However, Type 1 diabetes is an equally harrowing disease. Both can also affect young people making the rest of their lives a serious of decisions so manage their disease and remain healthy. When not treated, diabetes can lead to full or partial amputation, heart, kidney and liver problems and even problems with the eyes and nervous system (Ali, Bullard, Gregg & del Rio, 2014).
Preventive medicine is the key to managing diabetes and some researchers have begun to consider other fields of medicine to look for answers. One way to educate populations of young people was developed similarly to education for young people suffering from HIV. Like HIV, many people suffering from diabetes may not be aware of their disease at all or, at the very least aware of the deadly consequences of unmanaged diabetes (Ali, Bullard, Gregg & del Rio, 2014). The first step to healthcare effectively managing diabetes is helping adolescents to advocate for their own care.
There are many ways for young people to manage their diabetes more effectively. Of course, maintaining a healthy eating patterns and subsequently weight are as important as regulating blood pressure with regular checks. However there is more to successfully living with diabetes than medical management. For example, a variety of life skills were proven helpful in coping with diabetes as an adolescent. These included: a strong relationship with healthcare providers and supporting patients in their own decision-making. Similarly, as people grow individually in their life skills they effect became additive (Husted, Esbensen, Hommel, Thorsteinsson & Zoffmann, 2014).
The disease of diabetes can no longer be ignored. Luckily, there is a great deal of information available about the management of diabetes. When this information is properly disseminated for people with or at risk of developing diabetes, it has the potential to save lives.
- Ali, M.K., Bullard, K. M., Gregg, E.W. & del Rio, C. (2014). A cascade of care for diabetes in the united states: visualizing the gaps. Annals of Internal Medicine, 161:681-89.
- Husted, G.R., Esbensen, B.A., Hommel, E., Thorsteinsson, B. & Zoffmann, V. (2014). Adolescents developing life skills for managing type 1 diabetes: a qualitative, realistic evaluation of a guided self-determination-youth intervention, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(11), 2634-2650.