Since they either can’t talk yet or don’t have the right words to explain how they feel, diabetes in babies and toddlers may be difficult to recognise…
This is why Jackie Maimin, the CEO of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), says that it’s important for parents and caregivers to know the symptoms of paediatric type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes – a serious autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin – is most common amongst children and, unlike type 2 diabetes, it is not lifestyle related.
According to the ICPA, these are the signs and symptoms of paediatric diabetes in babies and toddlers:
1. Increased thirst and frequent urination
This is a common symptom of type 1 diabetes in toddlers and other young children.
“The reason for this is that rising blood-sugar levels trigger a reaction in the body that pulls liquids from the cells,” explains Maimin. “This will leave diabetic children thirsty, which leads to increased urination. If your toddler is potty-trained you may also notice that they revert back or have bed-wetting issues.”
2. Extreme tiredness
Maimin says that this could be a sign that your child’s body isn’t able to turn the sugar in the bloodstream into energy.
3. Increased hunger and unexplained weight loss
“Extreme hunger can be triggered when a child’s muscles and organs aren’t receiving enough energy,” says Maimin. “And sudden weight loss – especially if he or she is eating more – could also be a major warning sign.”
4. Changes in vision
According to Maimin, high blood-glucose levels could lead to blurred vision or other eyesight issues. “Unfortunately, at a very young age, your child will most likely not be able to articulate this.”
5. Yeast infection
“This type of infection may present itself as a nappy rash which is caused by excessive yeast.”
6. Fruity smelling breath or sugar in their urine
“This is a sign that your child’s body is trying to eliminate sugar that it can’t get into its cells.”
7. Unusual behaviour
“If your child suddenly becomes unusually irritable, restless or moody it may be cause for concern, particularly if this coincides with the other symptoms listed here,” warns Maimin.
If you have any reason to believe that you’re seeing signs of type 1 diabetes in your toddler, infant or baby, chat to your doctor about getting your child tested as soon as possible. Untreated diabetes can have devastating effects, including coma and even death.
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.