Recognizing Signs of Diabetes in Children

Mar 24 • 2015

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses that children develop. There are two types of the disease: type 1 and type 2.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is producing insulin, but it is not enough. People who are overweight are more likely to be diagnosed with this form, as well as people with a family history and people from high-risk ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight are the best ways for your child to minimize his risk of type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and at this time, there is no cure. With this form, the body attacks the pancreas so it is unable to produce any insulin. People who suffer from this have to replace the insulin through injection.

Type 1 Diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in toddlers and at puberty. Below are symptoms a child may experience:

  • Frequent urination in large amounts
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Diaper rash that does not improve with the use of medication
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid, heavy breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in vision

If your child is exhibiting any of these signs, speak with your doctor. He will likely recommend a random blood sugar test, which takes a blood sample at a random time. If this test does not indicate diabetes, he may also run a glycated hemoglobin test. This test will measure an average blood sugar level over the last two to three months. Lastly, your child may be given a fasting blood sugar test. This occurs when a blood sample is taken after an overnight fast. Depending on the screening results and your child’s symptoms, your doctor can recommend the best option for moving forward.