Some symptoms and complications of diabetes can be treated by keeping blood sugar under control through healthy eating, exercise, and maintaining normal blood pressure. Early detection of complications is important. Physicians can help detect complications and refer families to specialists if necessary. Dieticians can help families plan menus for children with celiac disease. Neurologists can treat nerve damage and cardiologists can treat cardiovascular disease.

Skin problems often can be treated at home with prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Parents must be vigilant about caring for wounds, such as cuts and scrapes. If wounds do not heal in a reasonable amount of time, or if they get infected, the child's physician should be notified immediately. If there is nerve damage, the child might not even know about a wound, so it's important for parents and caregivers to check carefully.

Foot issues in children with diabetes (e.g., calluses, ulcers) often require treatment by a podiatrist. Special therapeutic shoes, braces, or casts are necessary in some cases. X-rays can be used to detect bone tissue infection and a culture can be used to determine what type of infection is present. Infections are treated with antibiotics.

Kidney disease in children who have diabetes usually is treated with medications. If the condition worsens, the child might need dialysis, which is a procedure that uses a machine to filter waste from the blood. Kidney transplants may be necessary in severe cases.

Children with diabetes should have regular eye examinations. Some cases of diabetic retinopathy can be treated by controlling blood sugar, but some children require laser treatment. Glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery and cataracts often can be removed surgically.

Thyroid disease and Addison's disease can be treated with medications that bring the child's hormone levels back to a normal range.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015