Pediatric Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common long-term conditions in children and teens. But, at Banner Children’s, we know that when it’s your child, it doesn’t feel common at all. We’re here to help you understand what a diagnosis of diabetes in a child means. We’re ready to help you cope with this lifelong disease and provide information on how to safely care for your child.

What Type of Diabetes Is Most Common in Children?

Most children have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes means the body does not make insulin – the hormone that helps turn food into energy. No one knows why people get type 1 diabetes, but there are ways to control it in order to live a long, healthy life.

Type 2 diabetes is less common in children. With type 2 diabetes, the body can make insulin, but it doesn’t work well. Children who are overweight or inactive are more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making healthy choices, like staying active and eating healthy snacks.

How Is Pediatric Diabetes Diagnosed?

For kids, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed similarly to the way it is diagnosed in adults. Diagnosis tests can include:

  • A random blood sugar test to check for high blood sugar levels that may indicate diabetes
  • A fasting blood sugar test to check for high blood sugar after a night of fasting
  • A glycated hemoglobin test (A1C test) to check the average blood sugar level in a child for the past three months

Diagnosis for type 2 diabetes includes the same tests that are given to diagnose for type 1 diabetes, as well as an oral glucose tolerance test. This test involves taking a blood sample from your child after they have fasted for at least eight hours or overnight. Your child will then drink a sugary solution and have his or her blood checked over the next few hours. A high blood sugar level throughout the process generally indicates type 2 diabetes.

What Types of Treatment Options are Available for My Child?

Banner Children’s offers outpatient diabetes programs that are customized to fit your child’s needs. The program’s sessions are individualized and can include time with a pediatric diabetes educator and pediatric registered dietician. If you are interested in Banner’s pediatric diabetes outpatient program, talk to your doctor for a referral.

We also offer inpatient treatment for children who have been hospitalized for diabetes or associated complications. Our pediatric endocrinologists, nurses and team members are specially trained to care for our young patients with diabetes.

How Can I Help My Child Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Parents can do a lot to help their kids prevent type 2 diabetes. One of the easiest ways is to get the whole family involved. Healthy changes can become a regular part of life when everyone does them together. Some things you can do as a family include:

  • Getting more active
  • Offering healthy snacks and cutting back sugar
  • Limiting screen time
  • Eating dinner as a family
  • Seeing a dietitian

No matter which type of diabetes your child has, you can trust the staff at Banner Children’s to provide you with the specialized care and treatment your child needs.