Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the level of glucose (also known as sugar) in the blood is too high. That's because the body is not using the glucose properly. If your child or young person has just been diagnosed with diabetes, you might like to start by reading the diabetes overview page. From there you can check out the rest of the information. Read and learn about the condition and teach your child as much as possible about diabetes. Make sure to also use the skills and knowledge of the healthcare team looking after your child.

Family having a picnic outdoors in Rotorua, New Zealand

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are lifelong conditions. You can minimise the long long term risks and complications for your child.

Healthy meal planning is an important part of diabetes management. There is no need for a child or young person to eat special foods.
Regular physical activity is important and benefits people of all ages. It includes anything that gets your child/young person moving. It is not necessary to join a gym or buy expensive equipment at home.
Distress about diabetes and mental health concerns are common in children and young people with diabetes. Support is available to help you and your family.

It is important for families to work closely with school staff to create a safe environment for diabetes. A diabetes health care provider will generally work with your child/adolescent, your family and teachers.

Helping children and young people with diabetes to move towards self management has 3 key parts: having knowledge, having skills, having support.
Children and young people with type 1 diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels 4 to 6 times every day, or more if needed.
People with type 1 diabetes mellitus need insulin therapy to replace the insulin that the body can no longer produce. People with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin.
Children with diabetes generally do not become unwell any more frequently than children without diabetes. When a child with diabetes is unwell, however, they need extra care and attention from an adult who has received training from a specialist diabetes team.
People with diabetes can travel just the same as people without diabetes. You will, however, need to do some formal planning to make sure travel plans include management of diabetes.
Hypoglycaemia happens when the blood glucose level is less than 4 mmol/l, or where symptoms of hypoglycaemia are experienced at a level close to this.
The risk of diabetes complications may be minimised by having good long term blood glucose control. Screening is important to allow for early detection of possible developing complications.