Diabetes Diagnosis in Children: What to Expect

What to expect when you're expecting...a diabetes diagnosis.


In a child, a diabetes diagnosis can be particularly frightening, as a child’s body is difficult to monitor, and a child often does not have the language skills necessary to adequately describe how they are feeling. It is not uncommon for diabetes to go unchecked longer where children are concerned for this reason, which may require more aggressive treatment following their initial diagnosis compared to adults.

If you are have a kid with diabetes, this article will be useful for you!

Going to the Doctor

If you suspect your child has diabetes, the first step after visiting your pediatrician will be a series of blood tests to check blood sugar levels and to test for any deficiencies that could cause the appearance of diabetes. Low iron levels, for instance, could account for slow-healing wounds or extreme fatigue.

A single test for blood sugar is not enough to formally diagnose diabetes. If your child’s blood sugar is discovered to be outside of the normal range on their initial blood test (either higher or lower), they will need to take several tests after that point, including a fasting blood sugar test and a hemoglobin test, which will indicate blood sugar averages over several months.

If all of these tests come back positive (demonstrating elevated or depressed blood sugar levels), your child will be diagnosed with diabetes.

After Diagnosis

The first step after diagnosis will be to create a treatment plan. Type 1 and Type 2 will have different treatment steps. Type 2 will involve more diet planning, and may initially try to manage symptoms through diet alone. Type 1, however, requires more vigorous treatment and is often more severe at the time of diagnosis.

When discussing treatment with your doctor, be honest and upfront about any obstacles you might face. If you are both working parents, for instance, your doctor may need to write a letter for your child’s preschool. If your family members have specific dietary restrictions, your doctor and nutritionist will need to work around those. It is pivotal to be honest and frank when developing a treatment method.

Going Forward

After diagnosis and treatment have begun, you will need to check in regularly with several specialists (including a nutritionist) to make sure your child’s body is functioning optimally. You will also be required to monitor blood sugar levels closely and will likely need to own a food and blood sugar diary religiously the first few months of diagnosis. Keeping to mealtimes as consistent as possible will help control your child’s levels, as will consistent exercise habits.

Although diabetes diagnosis is scary, the process will be guided and monitored by your pediatrician. Following all assigned protocols and adhering to dietary guidelines is essential to maintaining your child’s health and well-being.


Mayo Clinic. Accessed 4/21/17.
Endocrine Web. Accessed 4/21/17.