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Does my child have diabetes?

Does my child have diabetes?

Did you know that 25 per cent of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are referred late? The finding was made by John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford consultant pediatric diabetologist, Dr Julie Edge, and published in the British Medical Journal.

The fact that many children develop Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious illness, before a diagnosis has been made, underlines the importance of recognising diabetes symptoms before it is too late.

It is understood that 30 per cent of children who are newly diagnosed have had one more medical related visit before a diagnosis was made, highlighting the problem of missing early indicators

Symptoms of child diabetes

So what are the signs which doctors and parents should be looking out for? They include the following:

Intense hunger – because your child does not have enough insulin to transport sugar to the cells, this can leave their organs and muscles severely lacking in energy. The result of this issue can be extreme hunger.

Tiredness – Lack of sugar in the cells can also lead to a child becoming fatigued and lethargic.

Thirst and more frequent urination – because of the surplus sugar which is increasing in the bloodstream, your child might become more thirsty than normal, and as a consequence need more visits to the toilet. This can also lead to bed wetting in children who are toilet trained.

Behavioural changes – your child could suffer from mood swings, as well as a sharp decline in performance at school.

Weight loss – because nutrition cannot be used for growth due to a lack of insulin.

Genital yeast infection – occurs specifically in girls with type 1 diabetes. Babies may develop diaper rashes which are caused by yeast.

Obscured vision – a blood sugar level which is too high can lead to blurred vision, as fluid can leave the lenses of the eyes, making focusing more difficult.

‘Fruity’ breath – this refers to a breath odour which has been likened to fruit, which can occur due to the burning of fat instead of sugar, and the creation of substances such as ketones.

In many cases, what could be symptoms of type 1 diabetes can actually be completely unrelated to child diabetes. But the message is clear – if your child displays one or more of these type of symptoms, it is best to seek medical advice.

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