Type 1 Diabetes: Warning signs to watch for in children

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 – Ridgecrest, CAFor Immediate Release

Contact: Jayde Glenn, Director of Marketing & Communications / PIO, 760-499-3910, Jayde.Glenn@rrh.org

Type 1 Diabetes: Warning signs to watch for in children

There is no way to prevent or cure Type 1 Diabetes, which affects about 200,000 American children. But knowing the warning signs can result in managing the disease and allowing individuals who carry the diagnosis to live full and happy lives.

“What I really want to stress is how fast this happens,” said Dr. Jennifer Prince, a pediatric specialist at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

“There are early warning signs, but sometimes these last as little as a week. Kids can go from feeling perfectly fine to being in the intensive care unit in a matter of days. Children can even die if it is not caught in time.”

Families in communities all over the country, including ours, have faced the trauma of untimely death in a child. “This is why it is so important to know what to watch for,” said Dr. Prince.

“If your child does not feel well, say their stomach hurts or they are thirstier than usual. These symptoms can be confused with a stomach bug, but it is often a sign of Type 1 Diabetes.”

Other symptoms to watch for are frequent urination or bed-wetting, unintentional weight loss, increased hunger, fatigue and weakness, irritability or fruity-smelling breath.

“If you have observed these symptoms in your child, it is important to speak to your pediatrician about it as soon as possible,” said Dr. Prince.

“The good news is that, if caught in time, Type 1 Diabetes is manageable. I know people living with this disease who have happy, healthy, normal lives. They work, get married, have children. But it is so critical to know the warning signs and recognize when they are happening.”

One of the challenges with Type 1 Diabetes is that, until symptoms begin to present, it is virtually impossible to screen for. “I am always struck by the parents, who are dealing with this in their children, who say, ‘but they were fine just last week – how did it happen so quickly? What went wrong?’”

While Type 2 Diabetes can occur in childhood and adolescence, it is Type 1 that more commonly manifests during these years.

Type 1 is a chronic health condition where the pancreas cannot produce insulin, or makes only a small amount of insulin, which is the hormone primarily responsible for helping your blood sugar enter cells, to be then turned into fuel. A lack of insulin allows the sugar in your blood to build up.

When blood sugar stays too high for too long, patients have an increased risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney failure and heart disease.

“As a parent, finding the right healthcare provider for your child is important for ensuring their health and wellness,” said Jayde Glenn of RRH. “At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, we are proud to provide compassionate, high-quality care to patients of all ages, close to home.”

RRH also offers nutritional advice, support groups and other services that facilitate healthy lifestyles.

To find the right pediatric or family healthcare service for your child, visit rrh.org to view the list of providers, or call Rural Health Pediatrics at 760-499-3846. Appointments with RRH clinics can be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
 

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