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Diabetes and Your Child: Tests and Vaccines

Taking care of your child’s diabetes every day helps keep him or her healthy. It also lowers the risk of health problems later in life. But most children with diabetes also need to see their healthcare provider for checkups at least 4 times a year. Your child will need some tests. These tests help you decide if your child’s treatment plan is working. The provider will also keep your child up to date with needed shots (vaccines).

Tests

These are the most common tests that children with diabetes need. Unless you are told otherwise, have these tests done at least as often as stated below:

  • Height and weight (every visit). Watching your child’s growth tells you if your child’s overall health is good.

  • Blood pressure (every visit). Blood pressure checks are used to watch the health of your child’s heart and blood vessels.

  • A1C (every 3 months). This test measures your child’s average blood sugar level over a few months.

  • Urine albumin and albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) tests (once a year). This test shows if your child’s kidneys are working correctly.

  • Lipids (every 1 to 2 years). This test looks at blood fat (lipid levels to check blood vessel health.

  • Thyroid function (once a year). This test checks the level of your child’s thyroid hormone, which helps with growth.

  • Celiac disease (once a year, if needed). This test checks for an antibody. The antibody may mean that your child’s digestive system is not working correctly because of an allergy to gluten (in wheat). About 10% of people with type 1 diabetes have celiac disease.

  • Dilated eye exam (at first, 5 years after diagnosis). Your child’s healthcare provider might advise earlier or more frequent testing. Eye exams check your child for damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (retinopathy).

  • Feet (every visit). The feet are checked for pressure areas, injuries, or sores.

Vaccines

Your child should get the following vaccines, in addition to the recommended routine childhood vaccines, at least as often as stated below:

  • Influenza (or flu shot, once a year). Having the flu can make it harder to keep your child’s blood sugar levels healthy.

  • Pneumonia (at least once, then as needed). Pneumonia can be a serious problem for children with diabetes. Ask your child’s healthcare provider how often this vaccine is needed.

 

Your child should also see a dentist at least twice a year. This is because high blood sugar can damage your child’s teeth and gums over time. Poor dental hygiene can also raise blood sugar. Be sure to tell anyone who works on your child’s teeth that he or she has diabetes. And have your child brush and floss his or her teeth at least twice a day.

Resources

For more information about diabetes, visit these websites:

  • American Diabetes Association www.diabetes.org

  • Children with Diabetes www.childrenwithdiabetes.com

  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation www.jdrf.org

  • American Association of Diabetes Educators www.aadenet.org

  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists www.aace.com

  • Endocrine Society www.endocrine.org/topics/diabetes

  • National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov

 

This sheet does not give all the information you need to care for your child with diabetes. Ask your child’s healthcare provider for more information.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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