Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Being a parent is tough, as hard as we try, it’s always overwhelming when your child isn’t feeling well and you can’t tell if you’re missing something. One of the most important things to be aware of is whether your child is showing symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
To understand diabetes, it’s important to know the distinction between type 1, and the more commonly diagnosed type 2:
Type 2 can be linked to lifestyle factors such as overeating and lack of exercise, it is both preventable and reversible, and it typically targets adults.
Type 1 cannot be linked to any lifestyle factors, it is not reversible, the unpredictability of diagnoses makes prevention very difficult, and it typically targets children or teenagers.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for breaking down sugar in the blood (known as glucose) and converting it into energy for the body to use. Without insulin, high glucose levels remain in the blood and, if left untreated, can result in Diabetic Kenoacidosis (DKA). DKA occurs when glucose stays in the blood for prolonged periods, and with no insulin to break it down into energy, the body resorts to breaking down fat for energy which releases acids known as ketones. Failure to treat symptoms of DKA can result in loss of consciousness, and at worst it can be fatal.
As scary as that seems, DKA is easily preventable if you’re aware of the symptoms. An easy way to remember is to look at the four T’s:
Excessive thirst occurs to replenish lost fluids and encourage urination.
Excessive urination occurs when the body tries to relieve excess sugar and ketones.
Excessive fatigue can sometimes indicate the presence of type 1.
Unexplained weight loss can occur as the body has to convert fat into energy.
If you or your child exhibits any combination of these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately and ask for a glucose test. The test is quick and easy and will provide immediate answers. If glucose levels are high, you can begin discussing insulin treatment with your doctor and begin planning the next steps.
Type 1 diabetes can be daunting, but most children who are diagnosed lead healthy happy lives once they become aware of their illness and learn how to manage it. A glucose test will give you the solace of knowing what is happening to your child, and more importantly, it could save their life.