Childhood Diabetes Symptoms: Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

Does My Child Have Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a serious autoimmune disease that attacks the body's insulin-producing cells. It is also known as juvenile diabetes because it often develops in children and young adults. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), type 1 diabetes affects more than 1.45 million people in the United States alone. By 2050, it’s estimated that 600,000 youth will be diagnosed with this disease.

While type 2 diabetes can occur in childhood and adolescence, it is type 1 that more commonly manifests during these years. Knowing the early signs of type 1 diabetes is vital so that your child can receive the care they need as soon as possible.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms in Children

Keep in mind that symptoms of type 1 diabetes typically come on suddenly, so it is important for parents to act fast and seek medical attention if they notice any of these warning signs.

The most commonly reported symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children and teens include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • Bed-wetting
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Increased irritability
  • Fruity-smelling breath

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is important to contact a healthcare professional right away. They can order a blood sugar test to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.

The Dangers of Leaving Diabetes Untreated

Parents play a vital role in the management of type 1 diabetes. With proper treatment, children with type 1 diabetes can lead healthy and happy lives.

However, leaving diabetes to go unmanaged can be life-threatening. When your child’s blood sugar stays too high for too long, it can leave them at an increased risk for developing the following health complications:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Kidney issues
  • Heart disease

“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.”

Pediatric Diabetic Care in Ridgecrest, CA

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

To learn more about our pediatric healthcare services, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-5 PM) to schedule an appointment. For more information on our Diabetes Support Group meetings, click here.