Diabetes Support for Young People

Students with Diabetes Gather for Support

The second meeting of the Youth Diabetes Support Group will meet from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m., on Tuesday, September 18 at the Fauquier Health Wellness Center. Middle school and high school students with diabetes are welcome to come and compare notes with others who are managing the same issues. There will also be a meeting on Tuesday, December 18, at the same time and place.

In a relaxed atmosphere, with fun games and activities included, the support group provides a chance for students to make new friends who have also been diagnosed with diabetes. The objective is to connect students with others who have had similar experiences, and learn from one anothers’ successes and challenges.

In future meetings, there will be guest speakers from the community who have lived with type 1 diabetes since childhood, to encourage the students and provide role models.

The group is free for everyone. Parents are welcome, but young people are welcome to attend on their own, if they like.

The Wellness Center is located at 419 Holiday Court, Suite 200, in Warrenton. Questions may be addressed to diabetes educator Beth Potter, MS, RDN, at 540-316-2644.

Making the Connection: Diabetes Management for Young People

Diabetes educator and registered dietitian Beth Potter has been working with people with diabetes for many years. Whether it’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes, management includes strategies around medication, diet and exercise. Often adults have trouble managing their disease. When children are diagnosed, the challenges can multiply.

Potter said, “In Fauquier County, each school has staff trained in diabetes management, so that students can do all the normal things that other non-diabetic students do during the school day.”

Each fall, Potter teaches a four-hour class for the school system. Each staff member who has gone through the initial training is required annually to attend an hour’s additional training to learn about updates in diabetes management. Potter said, “The key thing that I’ve learned during the training is that communication is so important — among the child, the parents, medical professionals, and the school staff.”

Speaking of communication, Potter recently started a support group for young people with diabetes. The first session was a success, with six participants (including students and parents) who came to learn about coping strategies and to talk to other students with diabetes.

Most young people with diabetes have type 1. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation describes it this way: “Type 1 diabetes is a serious autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin—which is essential to getting energy from food. It affects people of all ages and is not related to diet or lifestyle. There’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes and—currently—there is no cure…  Type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening if it goes untreated.”


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