As teens with diabetes get older, their health care services will change. "Transition of care" means that they will switch from a pediatric (childhood) endocrinologist to an adult health care provider.
When Should Teens With Diabetes Transition to Adult Care?
It depends on the person, but most teens with diabetes should move to adult health care when they're between 18 and 21. Many are going to college or moving away from home at this age.
How Can Teens With Diabetes Prepare to Transition to Adult Care?
Starting as early as 12 years old, teens with diabetes can start to take charge of their health. Early on, parents can supervise and give more responsibility as their child gets older.
To help prepare, older kids and teens with diabetes should:
learn all they can about diabetes
know which symptoms mean they're getting sick or their diabetes management plan needs to be changed
know the names of all diabetes medicines, the dosages and when to take them, common side effects, and interactions with other medicines
As they make the move to an adult endocrinologist, teens also should look for an adult primary care provider for their non-diabetes health care needs. This could be an internist, family medicine specialist, or nurse practitioner. He or she should work with your teen's endocrinologist, as needed.