Adolescent Diabetes

Team 12

What is adolescent diabetes?

Diabetes is a term that means your blood glucose level (or blood sugar) is too high. The pancreas creates insulin, and if the pancreas isn't making insulin correctly, diabetes can be a threat to body organs such as the heart, eyes, and kidneys.

Who has adolescent diabetes?

Children who are diagnosed with diabetes are usually ages 10-19. You can't tell by outward appearance who has diabetes, but there are certain characteristics.

Characteristics of diabetes:



-Frequent Urination


-Excessive Hunger

Type I Diabetes

Type I Diabetes-Adolescent/Juvenile Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes. One is Type I diabetes, which was formally known as adolescent or juvenile diabetes. Type I destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas. In order to survive, children with Type I must take insulin daily through an insulin pump or insulin shots.

More than 13,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes yearly.

Type II Diabetes


  • Leaves some insulin-making cells in the pancreas but severely inhibits their effectiveness

  • Must be regulated with shots, pills, or other methods

  • Can be caused or made worse by inactivity or poor diet

  • Can cause heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, or even death (and more!) due to high blood sugar

  • Can be caused by genetic tendencies OR lifestyle

  • Can result in poor circulation, which consequently can result in amputations

How do you know if you have adolescent diabetes?


Genes, viruses, and toxins make make children prone to get Type I diabetes. Signs to look for are thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and hunger.

Type II diabetes affects children who are overweight, do not exercise, and make poor and unhealthy food choices. Sometimes, it is genetic. Type II may affect other racial groups more than others, such as African American, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Alaska Natives.

The impact of adolescent diabetes

Cognitively, Socio-emotional, and day-to-day functioning

The impact of having type I or type II diabetes can range from mild to severe. For the impact on cognitive functioning, some students with type II diabetes may have disabilities with memory retention and verbal fluency. According to study done by Wahlin, "frontal structures may be affected by diabetes sequelae and may therefore be associated with occasionally observed deficits in episodic memory recall, verbal fluency, and executive functioning."

Any type of diabetes will cause complications that interfere with school. Some students may have a schedule to take insulin through an insulin pump or shot. Students may get discouraged at first with their new accommodations in their lives, and it will be a hard adjustment with food choices, as well. Because of this, students may feel alone with their diagnoses, as it affects their day-to-day functioning, too.

How can you, as a teacher, help a student with adolescent diabetes?

Teacher Tips

  • Be conscious of test times

  • Allow food and beverages in your room

  • Keep kids moving during the day

  • Be flexible with schedules

  • Allow for breaks

As a teacher, one must be aware of students' needs. If a student in your classroom has diabetes, keep these accommodations in mind. Flexibility with students is a key component in teaching! Students with disabilities such as diabetes may have doctors appointments throughout the school day, so being able to catch a student up on material is crucial. It is also important to be aware of testing times for these students. Kinesthetic activities, and allowing water and snacks will also greatly benefit students with diabetes.

Check out our Adolescent Diabetes Video!

Adolescent Diabetes


Kaitlin Morrell

Natalie Loggans

Kimberly Prockish

Natalie Griffin