Q: What are the key types of diabetes in children?
Meet Dr. Greeley
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
Section of Pediatric and Adult Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Kovler Diabetes Center
Diabetes care at the U of C Medicine Comer Childrens Hospital
Our pediatric diabetes experts provide family-centered care for more than 800 children. Your childs care team may include:
– Physicians and nurses specializing in diabetes care
– Diabetes educators
– Social workers
Dr. Greeley: Type 1 diabetes is by far the most common in children and results from an autoimmune destruction of beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes happens when the cells are unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugars normal. Obesity leads to a greater demand for insulin so most people with type 2 are obese.
Q: How does treatment differ?
Dr. Greeley: Patients with type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin, while those with type 2 can often control the disease through weight loss, improved nutrition and exercise, or may need pills or eventually insulin.
Q: Are there other types of diabetes?
Dr. Greeley: Monogenic diabetes, which includes neonatal diabetes and maturity onset diabetes of the young, is caused by mutations in any one of several genes. Many of these patients can be managed with an oral medication instead of daily insulin injections.
Q: What are early warning signs?
Dr. Greeley: Classic symptoms include extreme hunger but loss of weight, frequent urination and unusual thirst. Symptoms may resemble other common medical conditions such as the flu, so always consult your child’s doctor about any concerns.
Q: How is diabetes diagnosed?
Dr. Greeley: A simple blood test is used to determine if a child’s blood sugar levels are abnormal. Once diabetes is diagnosed, special antibody tests can help confirm whether it is type 1.
Q: What happens next?
Dr. Greeley: We create a highly individualized treatment plan to stabilize blood sugar and minimize long-term complications.
Q: How can the Kovler Diabetes Center help manage my child’s diabetes?
Dr. Greeley: Our diabetes educators teach families about blood testing, insulin injections and lifestyle changes. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and ensure that diabetes does not keep children from doing the things they hope to do.
Q: What about our child’s school?
Dr. Greeley: We help make sure your school is prepared to monitor and keep your child’s diabetes under control so he or she can participate in all activities.
Q: How has the University of Chicago contributed to diabetes research?
Dr. Greeley: Our researchers have advanced the understanding and treatment of diabetes for more than a century. Recently, we created the first web-based Monogenic Diabetes Registry that includes patients across the U.S. and other countries.
Q: What are some current clinical trials that might help my child?
Dr. Greeley: Through TrialNet, we are studying how family history plays a role in type 1 diabetes. Another study is developing technology for an artificial pancreas. We also are researching the safety and effectiveness of a medication approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults for use with children.