Pediatric Diabetes Education

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body is unable to use food for energy in the right way. Managing diabetes can be scary and confusing if you don't have all the facts. Armed with the right information, you can stay on top of your symptoms. As you are the most important member of your health care team, we want you to know as much as possible.

We work closely with the Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Program, whose team provides comprehensive evaluation, treatment, and education for children and families living with diabetes. Support groups are held during the lunch hour for parents and children.

Understanding the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have some things in common:

  • People with both kinds of diabetes have many of the same symptoms.
  • People with either kind of diabetes need to keep close tabs on the amount of sugar in their blood.
  • Your doctor works with other professionals to give you the best care possible. You should see your diabetes treatment team at least once every three months.

The following table describes some of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


Type 1

Type 2

What is it? Most children with diabetes have this type, previously called juvenile onset diabetes. This type, or "adult onset diabetes," is becoming more common in children.
What does insulin have to do with diabetes? Your body completely stops making the hormone insulin. Everybody needs insulin to survive! It allows your body to use the sugar (glucose) that's found in food for energy. Without insulin, sugar gets stuck in the blood and is unable to enter cells. Because people with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin, they must take insulin every day. Currently, the only way to take insulin is by injections.  Insulin is produced, but it does not work well. The body is unable to keep sugar in the blood within a "normal" range. Usually treated first with meal planning and exercise. Sometimes medications need to be added to keep glucoses in the "target" range.
When do you get diabetes? Although it is most common before the age of 20, it can develop at any time. This usually occurs in people who are over age 40, overweight, and have a family history of type 2 diabetes. However, more and more kids are developing this disease.
How can I be cured? Unfortunately, there is no cure yet. However, researchers are working hard to find an answer. Meal planning, exercise, and control of blood sugar can help prevent problems. Habits like not exercising or eating junk food need to be altered! For those who are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight and adding exercise can control blood sugar.