Growing children are infamous for the diabetes management challenges they present to both parents and physicians alike. Growth hormone can only be guessed at as a potential irritant to glucose control. As a parent we watch our kids pants legs suddenly grow shorter or visibly see a height change overnight.
If it was only so easy to identify these growth periods as a causation for high blood sugars!
What is growth hormone?
Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the skull. Like the stress hormone cortisol, growth hormone presents a challenge to insulin in the body.
“The cause of insensitivity to insulin during puberty has been under investigation. The major hormonal changes that are associated with the onset of puberty include a two-fold increase in the secretion of growth hormone and an increase in the sex steroids that lead to the development of secondary sexual characteristics, remarkable increase in height, and change in body composition. Thus, both growth hormone and sex steroids are likely hormonal candidates for inducing insensitivity to insulin during puberty.“ ~According to Tfayli and Arslanian in “The challenge of adolescence: hormonal changes and sensitivity to insulin”
Does puberty require increased insulin levels?
Puberty does require increased insulin levels. As your child grows their insulin needs may surpass that of a grown adult during this period of time. Changes are frequent and unpredictable making puberty a parenting challenge in more ways than one.
Maintaining more frequent contact with your child’s health care practitioner is vital. They have the skills, tips and tricks that will help guide your family through these uncertain changes.
Tfayli and Arslanian state “turbulent adolescent years are characterized by important hormonal, metabolic and psychological changes which impact on the management of type 1 diabetes… The decline in insulin sensitivity requires appropriate readjustment of insulin doses in order to prevent deterioration in blood glucose control.”