The everyday life of a diabetic teenager: stress, studying and exams

Fourteen-year-old, Aiden Nel, tells us how he handles the stress of exams and studying.

I have just completed my June exams and would like to share the challenges facing a diabetic during exam time.

Coping with studying and exams as a diabetic can be difficult, but if I manage my blood sugar levels correctly, then studying and exams is no different than someone who does not have diabetes.

Tips to handle diabetes during exams

There are only a few of things you need to do to handle your diabetes during studying and exams.

Firstly, make sure that you test yourself regularly. For example, before each study session. If you do not feel one hundred percent, then first test yourself to see if maybe your blood sugar is high or low. You also need to remember to test yourself before each exam.

Secondly, it is very important to make sure that your blood sugar levels are stable. If your blood sugar levels are high while studying, you will not be able to concentrate. This would be the same during an exam. This means your marks may be lower because you could not focus. There will be less stress if you remember to test your sugar levels.

Remember, you also need to put in the study hours in order to do well. You can’t just keep your blood sugar stable and expect to do well.

Thirdly, as a diabetic, I always need to have a snack handy. I try to have regular snacks so that I can keep my blood sugar reading at the right level. Again, testing helps me to regulate my readings.

Lastly, it is important to have regular breaks while studying. Getting outside into the fresh air during breaks is important.

The most important point for me to remember is that as long as I am in control of my blood sugar levels, then I know I will feel fine during my study sessions and during my exams.

Aiden Nel lives in Port Elizabeth. He is 14 years old and has Type 1 diabetes.