Approximately 15,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. Many children may not communicate to their parents the symptoms they are suffering from. As their parent, it is up to you to watch for specific signs of diabetes in your child and have their doctor test them for it. If your child's diabetes is not diagnosed early on, they can get ketoacidosis, which can cause swelling in the brain, unconsciousness, and death. To avoid the dangers of type 1 diabetes, here are five signs you need to watch for in your child.
#1 They are Tired and Weak
A sign your child is becoming a diabetic is they have little or no energy. A diabetic's body does not produce insulin to move the sugar from food into their body's cells, so their body's energy is greatly diminished. Simple tasks they were once able to do easily become a struggle and difficult, sometimes impossible.
Pay close attention if you notice your child begins sleeping a lot more than normal and they do not want to wake up in the morning. Another big indicator is if they want to lay back down after they get dressed in the morning, or have trouble climbing stairs. This can be unnatural as many young children and toddlers prefer running to walking everywhere they go. If your child has begun to walk or slowly trudge everywhere they go for several days in a row, take notice of it.
#2 They are Constantly Thirsty
Children normally become thirsty after certain activities, such as playing outside on a hot day. But, be alert if your child suddenly is thirsty all day long, for several days in a row. Diabetes causes the body to attempt to expel the excess sugar through urination. Your child may experience nausea and vomiting as their body tries to eliminate the excess sugar.
With this constant expelling of fluids from your child's body, they will become severely dehydrated and thirsty. You can also look for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or muscle cramps.
#3 They Have a Constant Diaper Rash
While your child is still wearing diapers, you have the opportunity to closely watch for signs of a fungal or yeast-caused diaper rash. This type of diaper rash won't go away when you treat it with regular diaper rash cream and can be a sign of diabetes.
The reason this type of rash occurs with diabetes is because as your child's body works to expel the high amounts of sugar that have been collecting in their bloodstream, they will urinate more frequently. Then, their urine will contain higher amounts of sugar, which collects inside their diaper, allowing fungus or yeast to flourish on them.
#4 They Have a White Coating on Their Tongue
Along with a diabetic-related diaper rash, the same fungus and yeasts can cause a white coating to collect on your child's tongue. With your child's high levels of sugar in their blood, they also have more sugar in their saliva. Then, as their body is dehydrated from frequent urination, their saliva is decreased, making the sugars more concentrated in their mouth. This provides a perfect environment for the yeast and fungus to thrive and creating a white coating on their tongue.
#5 They Have Lost Weight
Newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics can lose a great deal of weight, as a symptom of the disease. When you child has always been at an average weight during their life, but you notice their weight has decreased lately, they may be newly-diabetic. Watch for if your child's arms, legs, torso, and face have become thinner in appearance, and you can more easily see their bones.
Weight loss occurs because, as diabetes begins, a person's body is not able to use sugar for energy, so their body begins to break down fat and muscle to create energy. This results in quick weight loss that is usually noticeable in their body.
Be sure to talk to your primary care physician and have your child tested for diabetes if they have any of these symptoms, as it is possible they may have diabetes.