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What are the signs & symptoms of diabetes in children?

Approximately 90% of the young individuals are affected with Type 1 diabetes, the condition which develops rapidly over few days to few weeks, and people show early signs that remain common between adults and children.

You may suspect of diabetes when the child shows any or more of the following symptoms and needs to get evaluated without any delay:

  • Increased thirst and urination – occurs because the excess sugar leaks into urine through the kidneys and pulls extra water along dehydrating your body
  • Weight loss despite eating excessively
  • Fatigue making them feel tired and lethargic
  • Headache
  • Irritable behaviour
  • Blurred vision
  • Yeast infections at the genitals for girls, seen as diaper rash for babies

Sometimes, bedwetting in a child who has been dry at night can be an initial sign of diabetes and may signal evaluation for diabetes

Some symptoms of diabetes that occur more particularly in children are:

  • Stomach aches which can be recurrent with unexplainable history of illness
  • Headaches
  • Behavioural changes

If early symptoms go under recognized, at later stages, chemicals called ketones may build up in the child’s body and cause symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, breath having fruity-odour, difficulties in breathing, and even loss of consciousness which is a dangerous sign and requires immediate hospital admission for treatment.

Although type 2 diabetes is very uncommon in children, an extremely bad diet from a very young age, together with less physical activity and sedentary behaviour can cause the child to develop type-2 diabetes. If the child has type 2 diabetes, presence of symptoms is less likely; however in some children, additional to one or more of the above symptoms, they may have

  • Slow healing of injuries, sores or infections
  • Darkening of certain skin areas

If early symptoms go unrecognized, at later stages, chemicals called ketones may build up in the child’s body and cause symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, breath having fruity-odour, difficulties in breathing, and even loss of consciousness which requires immediate hospital admission. Parents must be alert for any of these symptoms in their children, and on noticing any, must not delay an expert consult at any cost. This will help detect and treat juvenile diabetes early and reduce the onset and progression of complications.