Neonatal diabetes is a very rare form of diabetes that is diagnosed in babies under the age of nine months.
It is a different type of diabetes from the more common type 1 diabetes. It is not an autoimmune condition, i.e. one where the body has destroyed its insulin-producing cells.
Neonatal diabetes is usually caused by a change in one of the genes that affect insulin production, but it can be caused by delayed or incomplete development of organs in the womb. It can also be part of a wider medical condition. Around 20% of babies with neonatal diabetes also have some developmental delay, e.g. muscle weakness, learning difficulties or epilepsy.
There are two types of neonatal diabetes: transient and permanent. As the name suggests, transient neonatal diabetes is temporary and usually resolves itself before the baby is a year old. However, it may recur later on in life, generally during the teenage years.
Around half of people with neonatal diabetes do not need insulin and can be treated with tablets instead.
More information on neonatal diabetes can be found here.