Transitioning to Adult Diabetes Care

Transitioning to Adult Diabetes Care

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Graduation from high school is a great time to establish a relationship with an adult diabetes care provider / endocrinologist. 

You may choose to see an endocrinologist in your home town or near your college. Be sure to consider when you can schedule appointments and whom you will contact for emergencies.

Appointments

We recommend diabetes checkups every three (3) months that include:

  • Blood pressure check
  • Screening for urine microalbumin
  • Hemoglobin A1c test
  • Foot inspection

We also encourage you to schedule a yearly ophthalmology (eye doctor) visit, and routine dental checkups.  

Medical Records

You will need to request a copy of your medical records from Children's Health. Your adult endocrinologist will want to review your history.

Health Insurance

With a chronic disease, such as diabetes, it is important to be aware of your health insurance choices to assist you in paying for healthcare. 

  • You may be able to utilize your parent's health insurance coverage until age 26
  • May colleges offer a basic health insurance package with school registration
  • Affordable Healthcare Act

You will want to find out what resources are available for you, and what each program covers (doctor visits, medications, and supplies).

Diabetic Supplies

Your insurance program usually determines where you obtain diabetic supplies. You may elect to receive supplies through a mail order service delivered to your home or college dorm. Provide pharmacy information to your provider so that prescriptions can be sent. Be sure to inventory your supplies regularly and reorder on time.

Legal Stuff

As an adult (18 years old), your parent may not have access to your medical records without your consent. You will need to sign a HIPPA release so that your parents can obtain access to your records should you become sick. 

You may also want to complete a Durable Power of Healthcare form allowing your parents to make medical decisions for you, if you are unable to do so. 

Driving Reminders

  • Test your blood glucose (BG) before getting behind the wheel
  • Wear a medical ID emblem
  • If your BG is low, stop the car and treat
  • Do not drive with low BG, as your brain is hungry and cannot make good decisions

College Life

Office of Student Disability

Contact the Campus Office of Student Disability to identify how to register for this service. While you may not need specific resources, pre-registration may help with future requests you may have. Should you need it, this office can assure that you have access to snacks, blood test equipment in the classroom, or other diabetes requirement during class. You can request a statement of diagnosis from our office to support your requests.

The office of Student Disability may have information on other resources to aid your college career.

College and Student Health Services

Schools usually provide a Student Health Service clinic on campus. Some questions you will want to ask include:

  • Where is the clinic located?
  • Will the clinic need a copy of your medical records?
  • What does the clinic treat?
  • If you are experiencing a diabetic emergency, what services are provided at the clinic?
  • Is use of the clinic covered by school fees?
  • What is the cost for treatment?
  • Can diabetic supplies be obtained at the clinic?
  • Will the clinic accept your sharps for safe disposal?

Be sure to make a list of your questions ahead of time.

Dorm Life

Consider the following when moving into your dorm:

  • Where is the cafeteria(s) and when is it open?
  • Are all meals provided, or are you responsible for some of your meals?
  • Is there a variety of foods available? 
  • Are there vending machines for emergency CHO?
  • Can you bring a refrigerator into your dorm room?
  • Do you have roommates or resident advisor that you can be instructed in diabetic emergency care?

Lifestyle Choices

Alcohol and Drugs

You may encounter an invitation to drink alcohol or are offered drugs while in school. Our best recommendation is do not drink and avoid recreational drugs.

When you drink, you are at risk for severe low blood glucose. Your liver becomes busy digesting the alcohol, and is unable to help by providing extra sugar. If you chose to drink alcohol, consider the following:

  • Limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage
  • Drink with friends who are aware that you have diabetes
  • Low blood sugar symptoms may be mistaken for drunk behavior, not a medical emergency
  • Eat a CHO snack before you drink to avoid hypoglycemia
  • Wear a medical identification emblem

Smoking

Smoking hurts your lungs and your heart.

  • It lowers the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs
  • Raises your bad cholesterol
  • Raises your blood pressure

Each of these can raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make a plan to never start. However, if you do smoke, there is something you can do - Challenge yourself to quit smoking and have resources to help you.

Safe Sex

Birth control can prevent pregnancy, but does not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having diabetes does not protect you from an unexpected pregnancy or STIs.  Plan ahead - have a condom.

Family Planning

You are in control of your life, you decide when to start a family. Practice birth control. Poor diabetes control can impact the baby's health leading to birth defects, poor growth, or large baby. Have your diabetes in excellent control before you get pregnant.

 

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