Signs of Diabetes

Signs of diabetes in children may often be missed by adults as thirst and frequent urination are common in children in any case. In the USA, as many as six million people have undiagnosed diabetes; per 100,000 children, 17 have diabetes. While 90 percent children have type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes, type 2 diabetes is on the rise among children. Juvenile diabetes is a serious disease and needs to be treated early as children are growing and their nutritional needs are different from that of adults.

Signs of Diabetes In Children

Signs of Diabetes

As a parent your child’s health is your responsibility since your child is too young to know about illnesses and their symptoms. You should watch out for

  • Extreme thirst that seems unquenchable
  • Frequent urination and passing large quantities of urine
  • Extreme hunger that makes the child eat a lot
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Behavioral changes
  • Stomach aches
  • Headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Fruity odor in the breath or urine caused by ketones
  • Yeast infection
  • Heavy and rapid breathing
  • Sores that don’t heal

You may miss these symptoms because children often have large appetites anyway and also have mood swings and are often perceived as being lazy so you may simply put it down to a growing up problem. However, diabetes is simple to diagnose as blood tests are all that take for a confirmed diagnosis.

Signs of Diabetes in Infants

Sometimes babies are born with diabetes or develop it shortly after birth. While you may notice changes in growing or older children, you may miss signs in small babies because you are a new parent or because you don’t have enough information at your disposal. On the flip side, you are more likely to take a baby to a doctor at the first sign of any illness. Some of the symptoms in babies are:

  • Extreme wetness in the diaper
  • Baby is always thirsty or hungry but never satisfied
  • Baby will be constantly crying and fussing even though it is clean, fed and dry
  • Weight loss which can be dangerous and affects growth
  • Sleeping a great deal
  • Yeast infection or diaper rash that does not go away

While signs are similar in toddlers or babies, your baby will not be able to communicate his or her distress, you have to watch for these symptoms.

Difference in Signs of Diabetes in Children and Adults

Difference in Signs of Diabetes in Children and Adults

The basic symptoms of a diabetic condition are the same in children and adults. However, in adults the disease will progress slowly and a pre-diabetic condition can last a long time. The disease will manifest much faster depending on the age of the child. In a baby, within a few days or weeks are all that it will take before you take a baby to a doctor. In older children, you may take some time as the symptoms are common with other ailments or may be missed.
An older child who is otherwise dry during the night, suddenly experiences night incontinence and you will notice this – it is an attempt by the body to flush out the extra glucose. In girls, the presence of yeast infection before puberty can be a symptom of diabetes. Sometimes in children the diabetes progresses at such a galloping rate that the child goes into a coma and must be rushed to hospital because it can be life threatening.

In adults, the symptoms of diabetes may take longer to manifest and often it takes you longer to connect the dots and figure out that something is wrong.

Diabetes in children can be managed, but you have to monitor them very carefully and look after their diet, exercise and insulin. Juvenile diabetes can be dangerous if undiagnosed and can cause complications and growth problems. As a child with diabetes grows older, he or she will be living with diabetes for a longer time which is another risk factor for many ailments. Now that you know the signs of diabetes in children, take action if you notice any of them.


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