#1 Ranked Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report
MyPatients provides referring primary care providers with secure access to their patients’ information.
Boston Children's has launched the world's 1st program dedicated to offering hand transplants to children who qualify.
Innovation insider is a semi-monthly e-newsletter analyzes innovations at Boston Children’s, other academic medical centers and from industry.
Read the latest blog by a Boston Children's doctor, clinician or staff member.
There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Because our research informs our treatment, our diabetes team is known for our innovative treatments and science-driven approach. Boston Children's Hospital is home to the world’s most extensive pediatric hospital research enterprise, and we partner with elite health care and biotech organizations around the globe. But as specialists in family-centered care, our physicians never forget that your child is precious, and not just a patient.
In dealing with your child’s diabetes, you probably want to know the basics about what diabetes is, and how type 2 diabetes differs from other forms of the disease.
What are the major forms of diabetes?
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a lifelong condition that occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or when the body doesn’t respond properly to the insulin it makes. There are many forms of diabetes mellitus, several of which have undergone name changes as the disease has become better understood.
Note: diabetes insipidus is a very different condition from diabetes mellitus.
What is insulin?
Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide fuel in the form of glucose. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, starving the body’s cells of energy. Some children with type 2 diabetes need insulin injections. Others can manage their condition with diet, exercise and medication.
What are the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes?
The major risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
being overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] >= 85th percentile)
age (incidence increases with age)
family history of type 2 diabetes
lack of regular exercise
being a member of certain racial and ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders
conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as:
Children considered to be at risk for type 2 diabetes should be tested periodically, regardless of whether they show signs or symptoms. (For details on diagnosing type 2 diabetes, see Tests.)
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your child’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Having pre-diabetes is a significant risk factor for development of diabetes.
Can my child prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes?
Your child may be able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by eliminating or reducing her risk factors—particularly through weight management and increasing exercise. The Type 2 Diabetes Program at Children’s can work with you and your child to develop a plan for this.
What are some complications associated with diabetes?
People with type 2 diabetes can also be at risk for:
Although type 2 diabetes can cause many different problems, there are several key complications that if uncontrolled, can cause emergencies.
(only for patients on insulin) hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
occurs when blood sugar drops too low—so the body doesn’t have the source of energy it needs to function properly
if unchecked, can result in a low blood glucose medical emergency with loss of consciousness or seizure
can result from:
common signs and symptoms include shakiness, sweating, weakness, blurry vision, rapid heartbeat
If your child has signs or symptoms of hypoglycemia, measure her blood glucose level (if possible) and give her 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate such as fruit juice, hard candy or raisins. If the child has lost consciousness, is having a seizure or is unable to take food or fluids by mouth, administer injectable glucagon (a hormone that raises blood sugar) as directed by your diabetes team, or call for medical assistance from your local emergency services (e.g., 911).
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”