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Diabetes being missed in children

14th November 2012

The chief executive of Diabetes UK has said there needs to be more awareness of the condition in children.

Barbara Young said people needed to be more aware of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes to enable it to be detected more quickly to prevent children from becoming seriously ill.

She said: “The idea of rushing your child to hospital and then watching them fight for their life is the stuff of parents’ nightmares. Yet for hundreds of parents every year in the UK, that is the reality of a diagnosis for Type 1 diabetes.”

A major problem, she said, was diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which affects about 500 children a year.

It occurs in Type 1 diabetes because of a severe lack of insulin which upsets the body’s normal chemical balance producing a build-up of ketones, which can be fatal if left unchecked.

She said that Type 1 diabetes has some clear symptoms such as children being thirsty, losing weight, feeling tired and going to the toilet frequently.

They are known as the four Ts – ‘toilet, thirsty, tired, thinner’ – but there are concerns that many parents are not aware of them.

Parents who notice such symptoms should ask their GP to do a test on their child, which could pick up DKA.

She said Diabetes UK will be working with healthcare professionals - particularly GPs, practice nurses, and accident and emergency staff - to ensure they take the precautionary approach of giving every child with any one of these symptoms a test for Type 1.

 

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