Helping college kids cope with diabetes

One in every 400 children and adolescents have Type 1 diabetes — and that includes college students, too.

Previously known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. According to the American Diabetes Association,  in Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

Managing diabetes in college can be tough. It can be a young person’s first crack at complete independence from mom and dad.

Catherine Griffiths and her son, Harlyn

For some, that means learning to manage the challenges of classes, extracurricular activities, making new friends — and controlling blood sugar levels and diet in an away-from-home setting — on their own.

Read RAK sales staffer Catherine Griffiths’ story about her own teen son’s experience with Type 1 diabetes.

Kim Hohol, a registered dietician with Cigna Medical Group who practices at the CJ Harris location in Tempe,  offers some tips for college students with diabetes who are trying to cope with new challenges:

• Meet with a diabetes counselor in your health center

• Inform your roommate, professor and close friends of your diabetes

• Keep snacks handy

• Remember that walking to class can affect your blood sugar levels

• Buy your supplies in bulk

• Consider wearing a Medic Alert Bracelet

Anyone can join the American Diabetes Association  annual “Step Out to Stop Diabetes” walk sponsored by Cigna Medical Group.

The event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1 this year. One walk will be held in the morning, and one in the evening. The two locations and additional details:


Location: Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass, 5700 N. Loop Road, Chandler
Registration: 6:30-7:30 a.m.
Start: 8am.
Distance: 1 or 3 mile walk


Location: Midwestern University, 19555 N. 59th Ave., Glendale
Registration: 4:30-5:30pm.
Start: 6pm.


2 responses to “Helping college kids cope with diabetes

  1. My son is a Sophmore at ASU and we have found the last year to be fraught with challenges, as he learns to live on his own while managing his Type 1. We’ve been to the hospital 3 times in the last six months for various reasons.
    Lots of pressure for him and nerve wracking for us. Doctors told us these tend to be the most dangerous years – independence combined with poor judgment and denial.

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