Does My Child Have Diabetes?

To determine if your child has diabetes, the medical team will run tests on your child's blood and urine and talk with you about past medical history and recent symptoms.   

Signs and symptoms that may cause these concerns are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination (using the bathroom a lot)
  • Weight loss
  • Increased glucose (sugar) level (also called hyperglycemia)
  • Ketones in the urine or blood
  • Excessive loss of water from the body (dehydration)
  • Blood and urine tests to look for glucose (sugar) or ketones.  Ketones are a sign the body needs more insulin.
  • The medical team will discuss the findings of the tests and a plan of care for your child.
  • Your child may need to have an IV.  The IV can be used to give fluids (water) or medicine like insulin.
  • Sometimes insulin needs to be given as an injection (a shot).  Insulin cannot be given as a pill because stomach acids would destroy it.  
  • Your child will be watched closely.  If your child has a headache, is very sleepy or you notice a change in mental function, tell the medical team right away.

Diabetes is a chronic illness.  It develops when the body no longer makes insulin, or the insulin it makes doesn’t work very well.  Insulin is a hormone made by an organ called the pancreas, which is located near the stomach. 

A normal blood glucose level is less than or equal to 100 mg/dL fasting (without food or drink for eight hours) and there should be no glucose or ketones in the urine.  Diabetes is diagnosed by blood and urine tests and a medical exam.

  • If the test results show that your child does have diabetes, your child will likely be admitted to the hospital for about two to three days. During this time, your child will receive medical treatment and diabetes education.  Nurses and diabetes educators will teach you how to care for your child’s diabetes.  You will also be provided with a binder of printed materials and resources to take home.
  • Feel free to talk with the medical team about any concerns or questions you have while learning about diabetes. Our social workers in the Diabetes Center can help your family adjust to living with diabetes.  Child Life specialists can also help your child cope with being in the hospital.
  • Before leaving the hospital, your child will be scheduled for follow-up education with the diabetes educators. You will also be given phone numbers to reach medical staff with any questions you might have when your child returns home.

Diabetes is a chronic illness that can be controlled. Proper management of diabetes will allow your child to lead a healthy and active life. There are many resources that can provide further information and support. The medical team will be happy to give you resources about diabetes.


Last Updated 07/2013