At 17, Bethannie Ramirez is part of a new and disturbing trend: the rising number of teenagers who have type 2 diabetes. What used to be called adult-onset diabetes is now showing up in younger patients.
In the September issue of the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast magazine, Bethannie talks candidly about the confusion and denial she felt when she was first diagnosed and how she has since learned the importance of taking care of her health and managing her diabetes.
In 2003, one week before entering the eighth grade, Bethannie was properly diagnosed. She had to learn quickly about testing her blood glucose levels, taking her medicine and how to eat the right foods.
“I had to learn to control what I ate, when I ate and how much I ate,” she says.
Bethannie’s story is just one part of the magazine’s Back-to-School Survival Guide, which also includes tips from experts and parents about dealing with diabetes in children; a profile of two young brothers who have type 1 diabetes—and who are also both accomplished baseball players; and a guide to the legal rights of kids with diabetes. This special package lists several steps a parent can take to prepare for the school year, such as knowing these legal rights, educating and training school personnel, having a diabetes management plan in place and making sure schools have the necessary supplies to help children.