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 childhood diabetes 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 pediatric diabetes specialist experienced in the care of children and adolescents.
Understanding and Managing Childhood Diabetes
The Diabetes Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's is committed to treating all types of diabetes in children, including:
- Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that can affect children of any age. Symptoms and signs of children's type 1 diabetes, 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 board-certified 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. Some signs of type 2 diabetes in children include frequent bladder infections, skin infections that don’t heal easily, blurred vision, weakness and fatigue, mood changes, nausea, and tingling in the hands or feet. If your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, our team of pediatric 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 for childhood diabetes symptoms and to ensure their blood sugar is well controlled. Our team works closely with pediatric pulmonology specialists from 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 childhood 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.
Why Choose UH Rainbow for Childhood Diabetes Treatment and Care?
A Family-Friendly Approach
For families and children, a childhood diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. The experienced and specialized staff at UH Rainbow’s Children’s Diabetes Center is 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 childhood diabetes treatment, nutrition and medication options, training, education and support.
We also help families understand their choices in technology, testing equipment and medication. From diet to prescriptions to glucose monitors and insulin pumps, our team of expert pediatric 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 pediatric endocrinology experts at the UH Rainbow’s Children’s Diabetes Center are committed to helping you and your family navigate the challenges of diabetes. By participating in and in some cases leading 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.
A Team of Expert Pediatric Endocrinology Specialists for Childhood Diabetes 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 pediatric 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 Diabetes Center nursing team has special training in childhood 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 childhood diabetes management, especially for type 2 diabetes. The dedicated 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.
- Clinical 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 childhood diabetes symptoms. Our diabetes 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.
Suggested for You
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 5, Gabe’s earliest memories of managing his disease involved constant finger pricks, insulin injections and carefully monitoring everything he ate. But thanks to advancements in technology, Gabe now has the freedom to live a normal teenage life.
When 6-year-old Braydan’s family learned he had type 1 diabetes, they were overwhelmed by the diagnosis. But working with the pediatric diabetes team at UH Rainbow, they learned more about what they could do to help control it.
Diabetes Risks for Children
Childhood diabetes can be linked to factors such as lack of sleep, obesity and even genetics. Learn more about potential risk factors for diabetes in children.