Diabetes (Pediatric)

Diabetes is a chronic but treatable illness, characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels.  Children with diabetes either do not make enough insulin needed to process food (type 1 diabetes), or they are resistant to insulin (type 2 diabetes).

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital diabetes program is one of the largest established programs in Michigan.  Our multidisciplinary team evaluates 100-150 newly diagnosed children each year, and provides ongoing care and maintenance to more than 1000 children and adolescents with diabetes. Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, certified diabetes nurse educators, certified diabetes dietitian educators, social workers and a psychologist. We provide outpatient care for diabetes at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and at satellite clinics in Northville Health Center, Grand Rapids, and Marquette.

The U-M Pediatric Diabetes Program is certified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the American Diabetes Association.  We care for children from newborn through the young adult years, tailoring treatment plans to each individual and their personal needs and lifestyle.

As part of the pediatric endocrinology service at the University of Michigan, our team offers comprehensive evaluation, treatment and resources to help children with diabetes live long, productive lives. 

Diabetes symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite and/or thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision

Diagnosing diabetes

Your physician may run blood and urine tests to examine glucose (sugar) levels. The care team may also look for ketones, which are signs that the body needs more insulin.

We care for patients with type 1 diabetes, as well as for adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes.  In addition, our specialists provide care for less common forms of diabetes such as inherited monogenic diabetes and maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY diabetes). 

Diabetes treatment

Childhood diabetes is not curable with what we know today, but it is very manageable with the right tools and education.

Children with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to survive.  We offer a range of diabetes management therapies, including insulin pump or injection based basal/bolus therapy. In addition to insulin therapy, blood glucose monitoring is an important part of managing your diabetes.  We will also work with your family to develop a plan for balanced nutrition and regular exercise. All care is coordinated through a team approach with your child’s primary care physician to ensure complete care for your child every step of the way. 

Our program is built on the philosophy that diabetes patients thrive best when they and their families take an active role in their own disease management.  Families play an integral role in the treatment plans we design based on the child’s needs and the family’s lifestyle.

Comprehensive support and education for children with diabetes

Education and training are critical components of the U-M Pediatric Diabetes Program.  We provide in-depth instruction for families on how to manage diabetes, with a focus on giving families confidence in their ability to manage their child’s disease. 

Self-management is a cornerstone of our program, empowering patients and families to make informed decisions on how to maintain or improve health and quality of life through their own initiative. Families will learn new self-management skills and learn to make lifestyle changes so that children can participate fully in all activities, while avoiding long-term complications.  The program also offers resources to help families address the special needs of children with diabetes in the school setting, working collaboratively with school personnel to meet these needs.

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is one of the few select hospitals in Michigan that provides a comprehensive pediatric diabetes education program, including group classes for children, adolescents and families, and a regular newsletter providing helpful tips, resources and news from the center. We have a Pediatric Diabetes Education Room dedicated for conducting classes and other instructional activities for our patients and their families. We also partner with local organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) to provide opportunities for our patients and their families to participate in the local activities, conferences and diabetes camp.

Diabetes research

In addition to our commitment to offering the most up-to-date care available for children with diabetes, our providers are also continually conducting research to better understand the causes of diabetes, effective ways to treat it, and ways to create more user-friendly tools for managing the disease.

We are a participating clinical center for Diabetes TrialNet, an elite network of diabetes researchers exploring ways to prevent, delay and reverse progression of Type 1 diabetes. Through this study, we are offering screening to family members of people with type 1 diabetes, as well as prevention studies for those that qualify. As new studies are announced, those that qualify will then be offered opportunities to participate if they are interested.

Our faculty study a wide range of topics, including health outcomes and quality of life for children with diabetes, and the link between childhood obesity and its long-term endocrine consequences such as pubertal maturation.

In addition, U-M faculty are exploring ways to improve the tools available to families to support them in managing their child’s diabetes, including using technology and the internet to make our patients’ daily lives easier and more manageable. We focus on providing patients information about the latest diabetes technology (such as insulins, pumps, continuous glucose sensors) to allow them to decide if it right for them.

Take the next step:

Call 734-764-5175 to schedule an appointment with the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Diabetes Program.

Referring physicians can send referral information to our Administrative location or complete an online Consult Request Form to request an appointment.