There are some signs that one needs to know for the sake of their child’s health. Parents, Grandparents and Guardians need to have this knowledge in order to catch hold of early symptoms before they develop diabetes in their childhood.
The issue with childhood diabetes is that it often goes on unnoticed for months, often undiagnosed. Pediatricians and doctors are looking closely for childhood diabetes, but they see your child only one to three times a year.
If there are no symptoms during those visits, then the doctors have done their job. But you as a parent need to know about the following warning signs that they may be developing Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes.
These warning signs can apply to both the types of diabetes. Type-1 will typically occur earlier in life and it will occur in a more slender child on an average, but not always.
So let us go through these warning signs:
1. INCREASED URINATION
When you are around your child, you know how often do they urinate during the day. What you will begin noticing is that your child will be urinating far more often. Instead of urinating every few hours during the day, they are going to urinate every hour or even more.
Often this is a huge red flag where the parent needs to take their child and go see the doctor to get a diagnosis and tests done.
2. INCREASED THIRST
It is normal if your child is thirsty after playing around. What you should look out for is when they are ravenously thirst. They might end up drinking 1-2 gallons of water everyday, which is not normal for a small child.
You may be able to understand only after you compare your child’s water intake with other children. That could be a sign that they are likely to have diabetes.
3. INCREASED HUNGER
When a child is going through a growing spurt, they are going to eat more, and they will be picky and finicky where they would not eat much at all. This is a very different thing than growth spurt hunger.
As a symptom your child’s hunger might also be ravenous and borderline unquenchable that you will surely notice. They will be eating at home and outside while not gaining weight from all of this extra food.
They will not get taller or heavier while eating a lot and without any repercussions.
It might seem that the food is just disappearing without leading to a bigger child.
4. CHANGES IN MOOD AND IRRITABILITY
This factor is always a red flag even if it is not diabetes. Often in younger children, they would not be able to tell you exactly what is wrong or if something is going on. You will just notice that their mood gets bad and they are irritable.
They might be:
- Cry more than normal
- Hyper etc.
These could be red flags about the onset of diabetes.
5. BLURRED VISION
If a child is older and fairly knows how their body works, they can tell you about their blurry vision. And that can be for both far and near objects. They can say things like: ‘I cannot read the words’, ‘Your face is blurry’.
But a young child might express this as- ‘I have a headache/ my head hurts’. They have not developed the verbal skills to say that the things they see are blurry.
Hence anything that tips you off about your child’s vision may be much blurry than it was a few months ago, that is a warning sign for diabetes.
With the growing period, many children will also be sleeping all the time, and then they will wake up. But this is just fatigue that is consistent throughout the day for weeks.
If your child is extremely tired all the time they will stop getting out of bed, stop playing with siblings and other children. They will just want to lay around all the time.
Typically you would not be able to get your child to sit still, but if they experience steady fatigue they would just want to lay still. This is a red flag for diabetes and is also an alarm for other potential medical conditions.
7. WEIGHT LOSS OR LACK OF WEIGHT GAIN
If you refer to point number 3 about increased hunger, children are eating a lot but are still losing weight or they are not gaining any weight at all. These are classic scientific facts that indicate diabetes.
No gain in weight after that much of food intake is something that you and your doctor need to consider together.
8. BEDWETTING OR REGRESSION
In the early stages of a child, most parents have provided them with potty training. And even after 3 months if a child has ended up soiling their clothes, that is a significant case of regression.
Any time a child has a physical, medical or mental condition, one of the ways they cope with that is regressing.
So if your child used to suck their thumb and they stopped and all of a sudden they are sucking their thumb again, that could be diabetes or a host of other medical or mental issues going on.
If your child starts bedwetting again after they had stopped doing so for a long time, this could indicate many things like bladder infection. This could also come from childhood diabetes.
9. FRUITY SMELL ON THEIR BREATH
Some people describe this phenomena as a fruity smell, a rancid fruity smell, acetone smell (nail polish/remover). If your kid has just eaten a bowl of strawberries, then their breath will be fruity. So do not worry about that.
This is to be noted when your child has not eaten anything for 2-3 hours and they have this fruity or acetone smell on their breath, that could be a sign that they could be on keto-acidosis. One of the most dangerous things that could come from Type-1 diabetes in a child.
10. REPETITIVE INFECTIONS
Your child might be getting repetitive infections of any kind and at any time. You had this previously very healthy child and now this child is getting yeast infections once every two months. They might also get repetitive ear infections, sinus infections etc.
Any kind of infection and even when they get a little cut which instead of healing, it takes forever to heal or worse, it gets infected. Any of these things are red flags for something being wrong with your child’s immune system which can be caused by childhood diabetes.
11. ACANTHOSIS NIGRICAN
If your child has dark patches of skin on their neck or arm pits, it is an indication that your child is insulin resistant and probably is either prediabetic or is developing Type-1 diabetes.
These are the signs that a doctor would look for, but unless you have a doctor living with you, you need to be aware as a parent or guardian so that you can look out for them. If you see these things rarely, then you do not need to worry.
But if you see these fairly regularly and it keeps happening over and over again, then it is time to get your child diagnosed by a doctor. It is important for you to make sure that diabetes in your child is not left undiagnosed because it will destroy your child’s life.