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Teenagers with Diabetes in Lithuania

I'm Edita. I live in Lithuania. I'm 16 years old and I have had type 1 diabetes for 7 years.

I want to tell you about diabetes in Lithuania. Actually, there are a lot of teenagers in Lithuania who have diabetes. I know many teenagers with diabetes - not only from Lithuania, but also from all over the world. This communication with young people from Holland, the United States, Russia and other countries helps me to know more about diabetes to control it and live easier.

I live near a big town called Kaunas, which is known as a center of diabetes treatment. Teenagers have to examine their health in a hospital once every three months. We also have to stay in a hospital for about one week in order to control diabetes and to examine it better. I use an Elite glucometer for testing my blood sugar and I get 150 strips per year from the government. It's not enough for the whole year and sometimes I have to buy them. Insulin pumps are not a usual sight in Lithuania.

I'm a member of Diabetes Youths Association of Lithuania, which is also in Kaunas. It helps teenagers with diabetes to control their illness and to find more friends. It also supplies means of diabetes control. Thanks to this association, I've already been to diabetes camps in Russia and the US. There are a lot of camps in Lithuania, too, which operate in the summer. These camps include a high level of activity, diet, and good diabetes control.

The biggest diabetes association of Lithuania (LDA) is in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. This association publishes the only diabetes newspaper, "Diabetae" which is read all over the country.

Talking about friends, it's not difficult for me to communicate with them. Actually everybody is very friendly and helps me a lot with diabetes. Teachers are also very understanding and let me eat, test or give myself an injection during exams. Usually I bring the food (snacks) from home because the canteen of our school is not designed for teenagers who have diabetes. The canteen staff know that I have diabetes and make me a cup of tea without sugar or something else when I ask them.

Generally speaking, most Lithuanians I know don't ignore my illness. On the contrary, they try to help me and care about me a lot.

- Edita Stankute


Map of Lithuania
Map of Lithuania

Edita, Igne, Edvarus, & Indre
Igne & Edita

Edita and the others are in the US attending the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana's programs.

Published July 4, 2001

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