As a parent, it's your job to worry. To fear the worst. To imagine that no-one is taking the needs of your child seriously enough. We understand these very natural concerns. By seeking help and advice, you're now in the hands of an experienced team of health professionals with the empathy, knowledge and know-how to help your child manage their diabetes.

Your head is probably full of questions. Every parent reacts differently to their child’s diagnosis – learning about diabetes is the first step.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood glucose levels to become too high. In 2018-2019 there were just over 30,000 children and young people with Type 1 Diabetes. This is about 2 in every 1000 children. 95% of these have Type 1 diabetes (NPDA 2020).

  • In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas (a small gland behind the stomach) do not produce any insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. If the amount of glucose in the blood is too high over a long period of time, it can seriously damage the body's organs. 
  • Whilst it may take many months for the cells to stop making any insulin, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes are rapid, developing over a few weeks. 
  • Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. 
  • If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin, via injections or an insulin pump, for life. You must also make sure that your blood glucose levels stay balanced by eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and having regular blood tests. 
  • Type 1 diabetes usually develops before the age of 40 however it can be diagnosed at any age. 

  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly or the body’s cells don't react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. 
  • Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn't produce any insulin at all. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. 
  • Type 2 diabetes usually affects people over the age of 40, although increasingly younger people are also being affected. It is more common in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent. 

There are other types of diabetes such as genetic defects affecting how the pancreas develops or due to various drug treatments and conditions such as cystic fibrosis. These are dealt with by our partner team at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  

The Children and Young People's Diabetes Service at UCLH works in partnership with the Great Ormond Street Diabetes Service. 

The Great Ormond Street service is led by Dr Catherine Peters and Dr Rakesh Amin (who also see children at UCLH). Whilst the service at UCLH specialises in the management of type 1 diabetes, the focus of the Great Ormond Street diabetes service is on less common forms of diabetes, including cystic fibrosis related diabetes, post transplant diabetes and steroid related diabetes.