Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Care, Guidance, and Support for Children with Type 2 Diabetes

Every child with type 2 diabetes has unique needs and circumstances. At Duke Children's, we customize your child’s treatment to offer the care, support, and information your family needs. Our pediatric endocrinologists, nurses, diabetes educators, dietitians, and social workers help your child manage their diabetes and lead a healthy life.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone that takes sugar (called glucose) from your bloodstream and delivers it into your body’s cells to be used for energy. 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.

Managing your child’s type 2 diabetes means paying careful attention to their eating, drinking, and exercise habits. Your child may also need to take medicine or insulin injections. The Duke Children’s diabetes care team is experienced in working with children of all ages and their families. We’ll ensure your child gets the best-quality medical care and has the understanding and support they need to control their blood sugar, lose weight, and adopt healthy lifestyle practices to manage their diabetes.

Comprehensive Care for Children with Type 2 Diabetes

At Duke Children’s, you can be confident that your child will receive care from an experienced team that’s known for its expertise.

  • We’re nationally ranked for pediatric diabetes and endocrinology by U.S. News & World Report, and we are recognized by the American Diabetes Association for our diabetes self-management education. In addition, we were the first center in the Southeast to offer specialized care for children with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
  • We address all the health challenges that can occur with obesity and type 2 diabetes -- from high blood pressure and sleep apnea to hormone and other problems. We evaluate your child’s overall health and work closely with pediatricians, cardiologists, nephrologists (kidney doctors), orthopedic specialists, and other specialists to tailor your child’s treatment to their unique needs.
  • Family-centered care helps you manage life with diabetes. Our care team will help you and your child understand and follow treatment guidelines, and incorporate good diet and exercise habits into your family’s lifestyle. Through one-on-one support from our care team as well as our comprehensive diabetes classes, we empower your child and you to take control of your child’s health.
  • Your child will receive care from experienced pediatric endocrinologists. Our doctors are also researchers who are seeking new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment for children of all ages with diabetes.

Diagnosing and Evaluating Your Child’s Type 2 Diabetes

Your pediatrician may have already diagnosed your child’s diabetes through blood and urine tests. After you've been referred, your pediatric endocrinologist will do a thorough exam and additional tests to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate your child’s health.

The doctor will:

  • Learn about your child’s health history, eating and exercise habits, and when your child began gaining weight. (Most children and teens diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight.)
  • Order blood and urine tests to find out whether any hormone imbalances or other problems might have caused your child’s weight gain or made them prone to diabetes. Depending on the results, your doctor may perform additional tests, such as sleep studies or imaging exams.
  • Evaluate your child’s weight and the percentage of muscle and fat in their body.
  • Ask your child a few questions to evaluate their mental health and screen for depression. We perform this screening yearly to make sure your child gets the support they need. 

Treatments and Services

Diabetes changes over time, so your child's care team will adapt your child's treatment plan as needed.

Patient resources

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