If you have a teenager, then you know how difficult it can sometimes be to enforce their responsibilities. During adolescence, children often have different priorities than work, school, and health. This time frame is when they are beginning to understand themselves and how they fit into their peer groups without a clear understanding of how their actions can affect their future. Social interactions with friends often come before everything, while health takes a backseat. A teenager with diabetes is no exception. They still feel the same pressures and challenges of being teens, and they also face the responsibility of constantly monitoring their food intake, testing their blood glucose levels, and injecting insulin.
While every parent wants their child to be independent and healthy, these worries are amplified when raising an adolescent with diabetes. Are they testing when they aren’t around me? Did they bring the necessary supplies and snacks? Do they know what to do if their blood sugar falls outside the normal range?
Some concerns can be partially assuaged by the adoption of an insulin pump. These devices allow the user to skip the regular insulin injections and easily release insulin dispersals automatically. But what features should you look for?
Between school, soccer practice, studying, and time with friends, your teen is probably busy, and may not always remember to carry spare batteries for an insulin pump, but can always figure out where and how to charge their phone! Choose an insulin pump with a rechargeable battery that they can charge from anywhere!
The teen years are usually marked by a rapidly changing body and plenty of resulting physical insecurity. Don’t add to this stress with a large and bulky insulin pump! Look for a pump that is small and discreet, yet convenient, so that your teen can control who does or does not know about their condition.
Athletics are an important hallmark of the high school years, with most teenagers participating in a variety of team sports. Those without a watertight insulin pump may need to remove it during practice, which is something that can lead to danger if your teen leaves it off too long or does not take the recommended precautions. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid removal as much as possible and choose an insulin pump that’s watertight for swimming and sweat.
It’s important to make sure that your teen’s insulin pump has an easy-to-use and attractive display. If they find the gadget navigable and interesting, your child may be more likely to use it.
Teens today are more connected than ever. They understand Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and how to best leverage technological integrations. For this reason, it’s important to select a pump that has the ability to easily integrate with other helpful diabetes management tools like continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM). When integrated with a CGM, a pump with predictive low-glucose suspend technology can also help protect your child from low blood sugar events, all without painful finger sticks.
Involve Your Teen
A teenager is more likely to be on board with the insulin pump if they have an active role in choosing it. This can ultimately make them feel more independent and in control of their condition. You may want to involve them in the conversation when investigating options and don’t forget to speak with your child’s doctor for additional recommendations particular to your teen’s medical history.