This article originally appeared in Star Chronicle, a newsletter
published for the Children's Medical Center.
|Millie Manning, pictured second to left with members of the
Diabetes Clinic team, is a 16-year-old from Northborough with type 1 diabetes.
She leads an active life that includes hockey, dancing and singing thanks to an
Millie Manning, a 16-year-old from
Northborough, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than six years ago. Her
mother noticed Millie having unusual symptoms such as rapid weight loss and
excessive urination, so she brought Millie to her pediatrician. The doctor
tested her blood sugar and sent Millie to UMass Memorial endocrine team where
she has been a patient ever since.
A few years later, Millie, who leads a very active lifestyle, heard of the
insulin pump and suggested to her parents and doctor that she have one. "The
pump has made my life so much easier," Millie says.
The pediatric endocrinology staff works with hundreds of children who have
diabetes or other endocrine disorders. The multidisciplinary Diabetes Clinic is
the only American Diabetes Association approved program for children in Central
Massachusetts. According to Leslie Soyka, MD, "We offer nutritional, social and
psychological support for children in addition to assessing and treating them.
We work with each patient so that they can lead as close to a normal lifestyle
Diabetes in children, even infants and toddlers, is on the rise. Caring for
them has its challenges." There is a safety concern, as young children can't
express how they are feeling when their blood sugar is too low. We help parents
learn how to read subtle signs and recognize how their child looks when the
glucose level has dropped," Dr. Soyka says. The other concern is eating. This
age group is known for picky eating, so parents may have to count carbohydrates
and balance insulin dosages with food intake.
"We are staffed to provide comprehensive care for children," says Mary Lee,
MD, director of pediatric endocrinology." Our division is working hard to
enhance our services by building new programs, setting up community outreach
clinics and engaging in research projects that will help optimize care for
children with diabetes and growth problems."
The division has expertise in caring for children not only with diabetes, but
also with routine and rare endocrine disorders. It also evaluates children with
excessive weight gain for underlying hormonal imbalances or associated problems.
In addition, the division collaborates with the Clara Barton Diabetes Center in
North Oxford, MA, to provide medical leadership for its camp and educational
According to Dr. Lee, "The UMass Memorial Pediatric Endocrinology Division is
a leader in caring for children with endocrine disorders in Central
Massachusetts. Since we are a full service clinic, parents can get the excellent
care they need for their children close to home."