Clinical review: Diabetes in the adolescent: transitional issues

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Dec;98(12):4639-45. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2890. Epub 2013 Oct 23.


Content: Orchestrating a seamless transition from pediatric to adult care can be a daunting task in caring for youth with diabetes mellitus. This clinical review focuses on physical and psychosocial aspects affecting the care of adolescents and young adults with diabetes, evaluates how these aspects can be barriers in the process of transitioning these patients to adult diabetes care, and provides clinical approaches to optimizing the transition process in order to improve diabetes care and outcomes.

Evidence acquisition and synthesis: A PubMed search identified articles related to transition to adult diabetes care and physical and psychosocial assessment of adolescents with diabetes. An Internet search for transition of diabetes care identified online transition resources. The synthesis relied on the cumulative experience of the authors. We identify barriers to successful transition and provide a checklist for streamlining the process.

Conclusions: Key points in the transition to adult diabetes care include: 1) starting the process at least 1 year before the anticipated transition; 2) assessing individual patients' readiness and preparedness for adult care; 3) providing guidance and education to the patient and family; 4) utilizing transition guides and resources; and 5) maintaining open lines of communication between the pediatric and adult providers. No current single approach is effective for all patients. Challenges remain in successful transition to avoid short- and long-term complications of diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Precision Medicine
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Puberty
  • Social Support
  • Transition to Adult Care*