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Pediatric Diabetes FAQ

1. What causes pediatric diabetes?

The cause of pediatric diabetes depends upon the type.

  • Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin.

  • Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body preventing insulin from doing its job.

2. What are the symptoms?

Children with diabetes often experience an immediate onset of multiple symptoms at the same time, including:

  • Sudden need to drink more fluids

  • Sudden need to urinate much more frequently

  • Sudden weight loss

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Changes in mental status

  • Visual impairment

  • Fatigue

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

  • Belly pain

Type 2 diabetes can also be characterized by slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Some children with type 2 diabetes have dark patches of skin in the fold of their bodies, which can be a sign of insulin resistance.

3. What are the risk factors?

While there are genetic markers that increase a child’s risk for developing type 1 diabetes, over ninety percent of children with type 1 diabetes do not have a relative with the disease.

The risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Weight: Children who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Inactivity: Children who are less active have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Family history: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race: Children of certain races (African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asians) are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

4. If any medical treatments are ordered by the doctor, will my insurance cover them?

Depending on the type of coverage, most commercial insurance carriers will pay the major share of the cost. You should always consult your insurance company to determine proper coverage.

5. Who provides the medical care?

The team at Advocate Children’s Hospital - Oak Lawn is staffed by a specially trained team of pediatric endocrinologists, pediatric nurses, a dietitian, a diabetes educator and a school liaison. Patients and their families also have access to a psychologist. Your child will remain under the care of his or her primary care physician while being treated by the specialists at Advocate Children’s Hospital. To ensure that his or her physician is kept up-to-date, our team will provide ongoing reports on the progress your child has made.


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