If you’ve been told or suspect your child has diabetes, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps you don’t even know what type of diabetes your they have. You are in good hands. Duke’s pediatric diabetes team performs lab tests to confirm your child’s diagnosis and develops a treatment plan to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Our certified diabetes educators, dietitians, and social workers help your child achieve excellent diabetes control. Our goal is to help you and your child manage diabetes at home and prevent complications that can arise when this chronic condition is not controlled.

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Types of Diabetes We Treat in Children

The two most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. We also treat these and other types of diabetes that are less common.

Type 1 Diabetes
Formerly called juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that create insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes
In Type 2 diabetes, your child’s body creates insulin but either doesn’t produce enough or doesn’t use it well. This causes your child to have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health complications over time. Type 2 diabetes used to be less common in children, but it is on the rise as childhood obesity has become more prevalent.

Prediabetes in Children
Prediabetes refers to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. The levels are not high enough to show diabetes is present, but high enough to indicate diabetes may develop.

Neonatal Diabetes
This type of diabetes is diagnosed in newborns by six months of age when tests find high levels of sugar in the blood. It is caused by a change in a gene that affects insulin production.

Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)
MODY is different from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It is caused by a gene mutation and runs in families. If one parent has the gene, there is a 50% chance that your child will be diagnosed with MODY during adolescence or by their early 20s.

Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes (CFRD)
Children with cystic fibrosis may develop a unique type of diabetes that is not Type 1 or Type 2.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

What to Expect

Your First Visit
Blood and urine samples will be taken to determine the type of diabetes your child has. Depending on the results, your doctor may perform additional tests, such as imaging and eye exams. Your endocrinologist will review the results with you at your child’s first appointment.

Working with Our Team
Shortly after your child’s diagnosis is confirmed, you’ll meet with our team. We work with you and your child in the hospital and in our clinics to help you incorporate diabetes self-management and care skills into your family’s daily routine. This lets you manage your child’s diabetes at home.

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The Importance of Diabetes Education and Follow-Up

We encourage you and your child to attend diabetes education classes starting within two months of your first visit. These classes are offered virtually and in person and are key to helping you and your child learn how to manage diabetes. During these classes, you’ll learn:

  • How to use diabetes medicines, including insulin pens and pumps, and how to store them properly
  • How and when to check blood sugar levels and ketones
  • What to do if your child's blood sugar is too high or too low
  • What to include in your child’s “sick day” tool kit and why it’s important to always have it on hand
  • About healthy eating habits, including how to count carbs, read labels, and choose foods are good for your child in the proper portions

Follow-Up Visits
Regular follow-up visits with our diabetes team are important for your child’s health. They help us identify problems, such as high blood sugar or complications that may arise that need to be treated quickly and effectively. They’re also a good time for you to ask questions about your child’s care.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

Access to the Latest Treatments and Research

Your child will be treated by experienced pediatric endocrinologists who are knowledgeable about the latest advances in diabetes care. This includes access to new technologies for monitoring blood sugar and delivering insulin. In fact, we were one of the first hospitals to use insulin pumps in infants and toddlers. Our doctors also participate in national research and may offer your child access to clinical trials studying new therapies that are not available elsewhere.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/23/2023 by