Screening for Complications and Associated Conditions

Are children with diabetes prone to other disease?

The process that destroys your pancreas can also destroy your thyroid gland. Therefore, children with diabetes should be screened for an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Hypothyroidism can interfere with a young child’s growth, but it can be easily treated with tablets.

Children with diabetes are also prone to a condition called celiac disease. In this condition children have intolerance to foods containing gluten. If a child is not growing well and has bouts of diarrhea, parents should talk to their child’s doctor.


What do you mean when you say that high blood sugar can cause complications?

High blood sugar in uncontrolled diabetes over a long period of time builds up in eyes, kidneys and blood vessels of the heart and nervous system. If not treated properly, in time high blood sugar can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and neurologic damage.

Therefore, children who have had diabetes for five years and are over the age of ten should:

  • Have their eyes checked for diabetes-related complications by an ophthalmologist after dilating their eyes with drops.
  • Have their urine checked for Microalbuminuria to detect early kidney damage
  • Have a fasting lipid profile especially if there is a family history of heart disease
  • Frequency of subsequent testing for complications will depend upon the results of the initial testing and your diabetes control. Please ask your doctor for further advice.

It is important to remember, many of the complications of diabetes in initial stages are reversible with improved diabetes control.


Is there a cure for diabetes?

There is no cure for diabetes today. But the treatments have advanced so much that children can lead a very normal and productive life. There is a lot of diabetes research going on in the world, and soon there will be a cure. Until then, learn to balance insulin, food and exercise to keep blood sugar near normal and A1c close to 7%. This approach will help prevent the complications of diabetes. Remember, children with diabetes are normal and you can do and become anything you want.



Information and images from are from or inspired by Living the Sweet Life with Diabetes: The Art of balancing insulin, diet, and exercise by Dr. Santosh Gupta, MD, MRCP (UK), CDE.  You can access the book here:

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