Comprehensive, Family-Centered Care for Childhood Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common long-term childhood diseases–and the number of children affected by it has grown significantly over the last 20 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three American children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Although adults can have or develop diabetes, the treatment and management of diabetes in childhood and adolescence is different, so it is important to see a diabetes provider who specializes in treating children.
Understanding and Managing Childhood Diabetes
The Diabetes Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's is committed to treating all types of diabetes, including:
- Type 1 diabetes: This autoimmune disorder can affect children of any age. Diabetes symptoms, such as excessive thirst, the need to frequently urinate and rapid weight loss can develop suddenly. Type 1 diabetes must be treated with medication. Our team of pediatric endocrinologists will work with you and your child to select just the right therapy to keep their disease in check.
- Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity. It occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. Our team of endocrinology specialists will partner with you and your child on diet, exercise and lifestyle changes that can assist in keeping the disease under control. Medications may also be considered.
- Diabetes and cystic fibrosis: Children who have cystic fibrosis (CF) can more easily develop diabetes, and it is not fully known why. It is important to closely watch CF patients to ensure their blood sugar is well controlled. Our team works closely with the UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s LeRoy W. Matthews Cystic Fibrosis Center to collaborate on the care of those patients with CF who also show signs of childhood diabetes.
- Genetic forms of diabetes: Although very rare, there are certain forms of diabetes that are linked to a patient’s genes, such as neonatal diabetes and maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). These can often be misdiagnosed as type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Our team will verify the correct diagnosis so we can treat the disease with appropriate therapies, usually oral medication.
Having A Team of Expert Endocrinology Specialists for Support
UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is one of the first children’s hospitals to develop a comprehensive approach to childhood diabetes, addressing both type 1 and type 2 through a team-based methodology that directly involves the patient and family. Our team includes a wide range of experts who contribute specialized knowledge and experience:
- Doctors: Our board-certified and fellowship-trained endocrinologists have completed specialized training in pediatric endocrinology, making them experts in treating and managing diabetes. The division’s fellowship program in pediatric endocrinology is the only accredited pediatric endocrinology fellowship in northern Ohio.
- Diabetes nurse educators: Our nursing team has special training in diabetes care and management. Many have decades of experience working exclusively with diabetes in children and youth. Our educators are constantly learning new ways to teach diabetes treatment and management to children, using strategies for children of all ages.
- Registered dietitians: Nutrition and food choices become critically important for optimal diabetes management, especially for type 2 diabetes. The dietary team helps children and families understand how the body processes food, how different foods affect blood sugar and how to make the healthiest diabetes nutrition choices.
- Exercise physiology and weight management specialists: There is a direct link between weight and type 2 diabetes. Part of our mission is both prevention of weight gain and helping those that are overweight lose those extra pounds while encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
- Psychologists: Learning that a child has a potentially life-long condition like diabetes can cause stress, anxiety and confusion for both the child and their family. Emotional health is key to successfully managing diabetes symptoms in childhood. Our psychologists are equipped to counsel both children and their families and educate them on how they can live a long life, while managing the disease.
A Family-Friendly Approach to Care
For families and children, a diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. Our specially trained and qualified staff are here to help. With up-to-the-minute knowledge and expertise, we guide your family through uncharted waters, providing you with a customized plan for diabetes treatment, nutrition and medication options, training, education and support.
We also help families understand their choices in technology, testing equipment, medication and more. From diet to prescriptions to glucose monitors and insulin pumps, our team of expert endocrinologists knows the landscape of this disease and guides families towards the best and healthiest possible decisions for optimal outcomes. For the convenience of our patients and families, ongoing treatments and appointments can be made at one of our many locations across northeast Ohio.
Redefining the Standard of Care for Childhood Diabetes
The endocrinology experts at the UH Children’s Diabetes Center are committed to helping you and your family navigate the challenges of diabetes. By participating in the latest research, employing next generation technology and collaborating with team members that bring different expertise to the conversation, we can ensure your child receives the right diabetes treatment that leads to solid, long-term outcomes.