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Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease where the body is unable to manage glucose (sugar) correctly. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is the most common form of diabetes in children, though rates of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus are rapidly increasing.

Our team at Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology is highly experienced in helping families navigate their diabetes care right from diagnosis. We care for kids with diabetes throughout Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, the Darling Downs, Northern NSW and further afield.

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, with the right approach it can be treated, controlled, and managed successfully.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The most common symptoms of diabetes in children are:

  • Excessive thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Weight loss

  • Lethargy

Children with untreated diabetes can become very sick very quickly, so early recognition and treatment is vital. If you think your child may have diabetes don’t wait - see your GP or your local Emergency Department as soon as you can. If your child also has stomach pain, vomiting, and / or sweet-smelling breath head to your local Emergency Department. We have a paediatric endocrinologist on call 24 hours a day who will be happy to speak with your GP or emergency doctor and help to get you started on the right path.

Diagnosing Jane's Diabetes - Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology - Brisbane

Diagnosing Jane's Diabetes - Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology - Brisbane

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How is diabetes treated?

People with Type 1 Diabetes need life-long insulin replacement therapy, which can be through injections or an insulin pump. Insulin is a hormone needed by the body to allow glucose (sugar) to be used as energy, and bodies cannot function without it.  People with Type 1 Diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels through finger-prick testing or using a continuous glucose monitor.

Managing Jane's Diabetes - Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology - Brisbane

Managing Jane's Diabetes - Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology - Brisbane

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Even though Type 1 Diabetes isn’t caused by eating the wrong foods or spending too much time gaming, eating a healthy diet and ensuring regular exercise is an important part of diabetes management.

Type 2 and other forms of diabetes may respond very well to changes in lifestyle such as diet and exercise. They may be able to be treated with tablets, or require insulin or other injected medications.

Our Team

Dr Andrew Cotterill

Paediatric Endocrinologist, Brisbane

Our Locations

Taylor Medical Centre

First Floor, Suite 10A

40 Annerley Rd

Wooloongabba Qld 4102


Medici Medical Centre

15 Scott St

(Cnr Scott & Curzon St)

Level 1, Suite 105

Toowoomba, Qld 4350

What is involved in diabetes management?

While Type 1 Diabetes cannot be cured (yet!), it can be managed.

Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology provides the team back-up needed for your child to develop to their full potential. Our QPE team includes experienced endocrinologists and diabetes educators, working closely with psychologists, dietitians, and other allied health professionals experienced in working with children and young adults with diabetes.

Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology recommends that all newly diagnosed children with Type 1 Diabetes start on an insulin pump as soon as possible (within one month) of diagnosis. This may require a short admission into hospital - the Wesley or Mater Children’s in Brisbane, or St Vincent’s in Toowoomba. If your child has been admitted into a public hospital, hospital transfer can be arranged.

Children with Type 1 Diabetes need regular specialist care as their needs change as they grow. Activities and illnesses will also affect their treatments and diabetes management.

What are the different types of diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Most commonly diagnosed in childhood, Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the body's immune system has mistakenly attacked the pancreas so that it can no longer produce enough insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

In Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas is still able to make insulin, but the body has become 'resistant' and isn't responding well, so more insulin is produced to manage blood glucose levels. Eventually the body can't keep up with demand, and treatment is needed to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range.

Monogenic diabetes

​Commonly referred to as MODY, Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young, or Monogenic Diabetes, these are genetic forms of diabetes due to a change in a single gene. They affect around 2.5% of people with diabetes, and in some forms might not need any treatment, or may be able to be treated with tablets rather than insulin.

Secondary diabetes

This form of diabetes occurs due to other conditions or medications affecting the pancreas or the body’s ability to use insulin, such as steroid medications, cystic fibrosis, hormonal disorders, and some genetic disorders.

Gestational diabetes

​Occurring during pregnancy, gestational diabetes can be similar to type 2 diabetes, and occurs in some women due to hormones produced by the placenta.  Gestational diabetes usually resolves quickly after childbirth, but can recur with further pregnancies, and increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.


Have questions?

Check our FAQ section, and if you still have questions or concerns we suggest you take your child to visit their GP, who can refer to us if needed.