Life stages and diabetes

Diabetes is a long-term condition which affects people at different stages of their life. Type 1 diabetes is most common among young people, while around 90% of adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can affect people of all ages.

Younger children

If your child is found to have diabetes you may be concerned and it may take you a while to accept the diagnosis. However, it is vital that you realise that with the right treatment your child can live a normal life. Young children rely on their parents and teachers to help them with treatment and you must be prepared to monitor their diet and food intake. Help with exercise, diet and medication is available from diabetes charities, as well as your child's care team.


For teenagers, who are often busy with school and their social life, diabetes can be a bit of a pain, but it is really important that you keep on top of their condition and follow the instruction of your care team. If you find that they are struggling to control their diabetes, talk to your the supervising doctor. If you need advice, information or help, you can speak to your care team or contact Diabetes UK and you can also use online forums to converse with other teenagers who have diabetes.

Young adults

During this stage of your life you may be thinking about getting a job, going away to university or travelling. Whatever your plans make sure you control your diabetes to ensure that you stay in good health. This may be difficult if you have recently started university, but you will soon get into a routine that suits you. Be careful with your diet and if you have any concerns or queries do not hesitate to ask for help.


If you were diagnosed with diabetes a long time ago it is likely that you are used to a routine by now and your treatment has become part of your daily life. However, you still need to see your doctor on a regular basis. If you have only recently been diagnosed it may take you a little time to get used to a new diet, your treatment regime and living with diabetes; however, there is always help available.

Older adults

Diabetes increases your risk of developing serious, potentially life-threatening conditions, so it is vital that you monitor your general health and see your doctor on a regular basis as you age. Try to stick to a healthy eating plan and do frequent exercise, as this will help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or suffering an unforeseen heart attack or stroke.

Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and in most cases it develops during the latter stages of pregnancy. Therefore, the risk of harm to the baby is low as the baby's major organs have already developed. In most cases your blood sugar level can be controlled by diet, but some women may need insulin or medication. In most cases diabetes goes away after pregnancy, but it may increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes again if you decide to have another baby.

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