Diabetes Warning Signs in Children

With diabetes, it all used to be really simple: Type 1 diabetes was known as “childhood-onset,” and type 2 was “adult-onset” diabetes. The cause of each type wasn’t really known, but people assumed it had something to do with diet. However, we’ve learned much over the past few decades and discovered that this disease is complicated. For parents, especially those with a history of diabetes in their families, it is very important to watch out for warning signs of diabetes in children.

Type 1 Diabetes

It’s been discovered that “childhood-onset” diabetes was actually a misnomer and that type 1 diabetes can occur into young adulthood or even later in life.

The cause is still unknown, although doctors have dismissed that diet has anything to do with it. Genetic research has shown that certain genes create a higher risk for type 1 diabetes than those without.

Type 2 Diabetes

Similarly, “adult-onset” has become something of a misnomer for type 2 diabetes. Since diet and lack of physical activity are generally responsible for its occurrence, because the national obesity rate is rising amongst children so are instances of type 2 diabetes.

According to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, “there has been a four- to five-fold rise in obesity since the 1970s.” In South Carolina – where Palmetto Health is located – the rate of childhood obesity has risen 22 percent in the past few decades, up from 5 percent in the 1970s.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the warning signs are the same:

  1. Frequent urination, especially in the middle of the night
  2. Bedwetting (if a new condition)
  3. Frequent headaches
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Fatigue
  6. Decrease in attention span or ability to focus on tasks, schoolwork, etc.
  7. Increased thirst
  8. A surge in appetite but accompanied by weight loss, not weight gain

If you think your child might be exhibiting these symptoms, make an appointment with your pediatrician immediately. While kids with diabetes can have as normal a life as any other kid can, they must undergo treatment and follow strict dietary guidelines.

Sources: Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, CDC Diabetes Site
Photo: Pexels

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