Consultant Physician Chairperson
Center for Diabetes & Liver Diseases Alliance for Diabetes & Liver Diseases (ADLDi )
Please tell our readers about Type 1 diabetes in children, what are the symptoms, what are the signs that show they might have it?
“Mrs. Akhtar , mother of five-year old Mishaal, called my associate Dr Musarrat Iqbal at our diabetes centre , at 5 pm for an urgent consultation for evaluation of her daughter’s one-day history of abdominal discomfort.
The girl had managed to spend the day in school but seemed to have worsened since coming home and has had vomiting once or twice. There was no apparent fever, diarrhea, rash, pain elsewhere, photophobia or altered behaviour, or dysuria, and some simple painkillers had made very little difference.
No other family member was currently unwell with any gastrointestinal conditions and there were no travels abroad recently, and no obvious unusual food intake (such as a take-away or eating out) in the last three days.
The mother had noticed that the child had been unusually thirsty in the past few days.
Her blood sugar was found to be 350 mg/dl.”
Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood.
The symptoms of diabetes including passing a lot of urine , thirst or weight loss are the same as in adults . You might notice that the child starts to wet the bed, is always drinking water and is much more tired than usual.
Even though some children may still look surprisingly well for the initial period, due to the polyuria caused by hyperglycaemia, they can be significantly dehydrated.
Abdominal pain and nausea are common in DKA but could, be mistaken as symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Warning signs of T1D may occur suddenly and can include:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Sudden vision changes
- Sugar in the urine
- Fruity odor on the breath
- Heavy or labored breathing
- Stupor or unconsciousness
What Is It Like to Have T1D?
It’s difficult. It’s upsetting. It’s life threatening. It never goes away.
“It is a 24/7/365 job. We never get to relax and forget about food, whether we’ve exercised too much or too little, insulin injections, blood-sugar testing, or the impact of stress, a cold, a sunburn, and on and on. So many things make each day a risky venture when you live with T1D.”
“It controls your life in ways that someone without it doesn’t even see” But at the same time, people with T1D serve as an inspiration by facing the disease’s challenges with courage and perseverance, and they don’t let it stand in the way of achieving their goals. A child with diabetes can do everything that any other child can do, but good glucose control is important to keep him or her healthy .