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Type 1 Diabetes in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that affects how your child's body makes insulin and uses glucose (sugar). Normally, when the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas makes more insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. Type 1 diabetes develops because the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin. The pancreas cannot make enough insulin, so the blood sugar level continues to rise. A family history of type 1 diabetes may increase your child's risk for diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed.


What are the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

How is type 1 diabetes diagnosed?

How is type 1 diabetes treated?

The goal is to teach you and your child how to manage diabetes. Management can prevent your child from having complications (health problems) from diabetes.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What is diabetes education?

Diabetes education will start right away. Members of your child's diabetes care team will teach you and your child the following:

When do I check my child's blood sugar level?

You will need to check your child's blood sugar level 6 to 10 times each day. Ask your child's care team provider when and how often to check during the day. Before meals , your child's blood sugar level should be between 90 and 130 mg/dL. At bedtime , it should be between 90 and 150 mg/dL. You may need to check for ketones in your child's urine or blood if his or her level is higher than directed. Write down the results and show them to your child's provider. The provider may use the results to make changes to your child's medicine, food, or activity schedules.

How to check your blood sugar

What should I do if my child's blood sugar level is too low?

What do I need to know about nutrition for my child?

A dietitian will help you and your child create a meal plan. The plan will help keep your child's blood sugar level steady. The plan may change as your child grows and wants different foods. Do not let your child skip meals. Your child's blood sugar level may drop too low if he or she takes insulin and does not eat.

The Plate Method

What else can I do to help my child manage type 1 diabetes?

What can happen if my child's diabetes is not controlled?

Diabetes that is not controlled can damage your child's nerves and arteries. Long-term high blood sugar levels can damage his or her eyes and kidneys. Your child may develop thyroid disease. Diabetes is life-threatening if it is not controlled. Help your child control his or her blood sugar levels to lower the risk for health problems.

When should I call my child's diabetes care team provider immediately?

When should I call my child's doctor or care team provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.