You can now text us! 205-927-2112

How to Guide Your Child Through the Trials of Diabetes

Children of all ages and teenagers can be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. While it may be surprising to get this diagnosis, don’t worry. Diabetes is manageable, and your child can lead a normal life. Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, offers the following advice for parents.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition of the endocrine system. When someone has diabetes, their body can’t make or use sugar properly. This means the energy from the food they eat can’t make it to their cells, which could lead to other health problems. There are two types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, develops when the body can’t make insulin, because the immune system attacks insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) get into cells. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar levels rise.

Type 2 diabetes

This type of diabetes was more prevalent in adults, but as more children become overweight or obese at younger ages, more are developing the condition. In this case, the body makes insulin, but the body doesn’t respond to it normally. As it becomes harder to get glucose into cells, blood sugar levels rise.

How can I help my child manage diabetes?

The first step in helping your child or teen live with diabetes is to educate them on their type and how it developed. We can help you find age-appropriate language and teaching tools to explain diabetes in a way they can understand. Once they grasp what’s going on, it’ll be easier to help them manage it now and in the future.

Managing Type 1 diabetes

The most important thing with this type of diabetes is to control blood sugar levels so your child can grow and develop normally. We’ll let you know what blood sugar levels are right for your child. Your goal is to monitor these levels and keep them within this range.

Since their own body doesn't make insulin, they need insulin injections given by a small needle or through an insulin pump. This will help to keep their blood sugar levels stable, so their body can function normally.

At this time, there’s no cure for diabetes, so your child will have to manage it for their entire life. This can be done by:

Managing Type 2 diabetes

Most people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, so helping your child or teen lose weight is essential to their health and longevity. This is because extra fat makes it harder for the cells to respond to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels and other health complications

Diabetes management skills are key. Teach them about:


Living a healthy and active lifestyle is essential for children and teens with diabetes. They can still hang out with their friends, play sports, participate in clubs, or do anything else they want to do. But they may need to carry snacks and drinks in their backpack, tell their coaches about their condition, or see the school nurse more often.

Learning to monitor their blood sugar levels, taking insulin as prescribed, eating healthy foods, and scheduling their meals and snacks can be overwhelming. Your child may struggle with managing all of this, so the more you can help them with time management and meal preparation and planning, the better.

Helping your child or teen navigate through life as they live with diabetes can be a challenge, but it can be done. Your child’s diabetes care team is here for you every step of the way, so be sure to contact us with any questions or concerns.

To have your child tested for diabetes, or to learn how to manage it better, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Myths and Facts About Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, which is a disease that was thought to have been nearly eradicated in the United States, has made a resurgence in the last 20 years. Read on to separate the myths from the facts about this disease.

My Child is Terrified of Shots

Trypanophobia — the fear of needles — can make even the bravest adults feel a pit in their stomach. Here’s how you can help your child overcome their fear and anxiety about shots.

How to Care for Your Child’s Croupy Cough

Croup — which is a viral condition that causes swelling in the region of the vocal cords — is typically all bark and no bite. Learn how to care for your child when they come down with this common infection.

What Are Rapid COVID-19 Tests?

It can take several days to get results for standard COVID-19 tests. Because of this, rapid COVID-19 tests have grown in popularity. Read on to learn more.

Three Types of ADHD

Do you think your child has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Read on to learn about the three types of ADHD, what to watch for, and when to bring your child to a doctor for testing.