6 tips for college students with diabetes (and parents, too!)

No matter how mature, how ready, how many times they've been to camp, college is often the first time a teenager is truly on their own. And even for the most self-sufficient, this can come with a few surprises.

What can you do to make things as simple as possible? Here are a few ideas.

20 February 2020
2018-08-update-article-mod3-all Hero

1. Have a heart-to-heart with your roommate.

Let them know what low blood glucose looks like on you, how to inject glucagon if needed and that those hard candies aren't for just any late-night craving. Then you can move on to more entertaining topics.

2. Beware the allure of the dining hall.

Diabetes or not, it's pretty common to add pounds at college.1 Midnight pizzas and all-you-can-eat dining halls can make things tough enough, not to mention the extra carbs needed to counteract lows.2 What's more, if you're not so great at remembering to bolus, your control can be easily thrown off. We're not suggesting that you shouldn't enjoy your newfound freedom—just maybe not at every meal.

3. Watch the alcohol.

Some people will go absolutely crazy the minute they're away from their parents. But as you may already know, with diabetes, it's complicated. Alcohol can increase your risk of a low for up to 24 hours after drinking.3 If you do drink, go easy and make sure you've eaten and start out in a safe range.

4. Put testing supplies on auto-pilot.

If you use the Accu-Chek® Guide meter, you can sign up for home (or dorm) delivery for your supplies.4 (Need the meter? You can get that free, too.) You choose the strip quantity and timing, and pay the same low price every time. Find out more about the Accu-Chek Guide SimplePay program.5,6,7

5. Partner with the CDN.

There are more than 20 College Diabetes Network chapters at universities across the U.S., and their site is filled with helpful tips for navigating life on campus, knowing your rights and more. Take advantage of this tremendous resource online or in person!

6. Appreciate the texts

You cannot imagine how hard your first year away will be on others in your family, especially if they've been involved your diabetes management up until now. Even if you don't think you need the help, remember that every question and helpful hint truly means "I love you."

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1Monroe CM, Turner-McGrievy G, Larsen CA, Magradey K, Brandt HM, et al. College freshmen students' perspectives on weight gain prevention in the digital age: web-based survey. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2017;3(4):e71. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5658646/?report=printable. Accessed July 30, 2018.

2Diabetes in Control. Losing weight with diabetes: What prevents it and causes weight gain. Available at: http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/losing-weight-with-diabetes/. Accessed July 30, 2018.

3American Diabetes Association. Alcohol. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-heal.... Accessed July 30, 2018.

4The Accu-Chek Guide SimplePay Home Delivery option is a monthly subscription. You are not eligible to participate in a subscription plan offered by Accu-Chek if you are enrolled in or have medical or prescription coverage through any government healthcare program, including but not limited to Medicare and Medicaid, or where otherwise prohibited by law. By choosing the Home Delivery option you are a subject to our full terms and conditions.

5Limit six 50-count strip vials per home delivery order. Subscriptions available in one-, two-, three- or six-month intervals.

6THE PHARMACY PICK-UP CARD IS NOT INSURANCE; IT IS A CASH DISCOUNT PROGRAM AND CANNOT BE COMBINED WITH ANY FORM OF HEALTH INSURANCE. Those insured by any government healthcare program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, the military or VA, are NOT eligible for this offer. Insurers may offer a lower cost option. 30- or 90-day Accu-Chek Guide test strip prescription required. Limit 12 vials per refill. Refills cannot be dispensed before 75% of previous days’ supply have elapsed. Program may be changed or discontinued at any time.

7Discount varies based on quantity of test strips purchased. See card for details.