Clinical Case Study
The effects of the psychological burden of hypoglycemia on an adolescent girl with type 1 diabetes and her mother
Diabetic Hypoglycemia September 2013, Volume 6, Issue 2: page 9-11
Children with diabetes rely on adult support. If their adult carers have significant anxieties regarding diabetes management, this can have a significant impact on the long and short-term health of the child. A 12-year-old female with a 10-year history of type 1 diabetes is described who had never experienced severe hypoglycemia. Her diabetes was managed predominantly by her single mother. The mother had witnessed her ex-partner experiencing recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycemia and developed anxiety about the possibility of hypoglycemia affecting her daughter. She would not permit necessary adjustments to her daughter’s diabetes regimen to treat chronic hyperglycemia, which may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. When her daughter exhibited early stages of diabetic retinopathy, the mother was forced to address the need to improve her daughter’s glycemic control and acknowledge her own fears. This case demonstrates the challenges faced by young people with diabetes and their adult carers. The importance of exploring the psychological burden of diabetes, particularly in an era of intensive diabetes management, is emphasized.
Keywords: carer, children, fear, hypoglycemia, pediatric, psychology, type 1 diabetes