November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Type 1 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in children and adolescents. Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce insulin, can lead to swift diagnosis and prevent possible complications. If you suspect your child has any of the below symptoms, please seek care immediately or contact your primary care provider with questions.
- Polyuria: This is a fancy medical term for frequent urination. You may notice some changes such as getting up frequently in the night to urinate, or bedwetting in children who were previously potty-trained. In infants and toddlers, you may notice more wet diapers or pull-ups, or a sugary smell when you change the diaper.
- Polydipsia: This is another fancy medical term that means increased/frequent thirst. Most kids will have an unquenchable thirst. You may notice they are always drinking, more than usual, or complaining of dry mouth.
- Polyphagia: Fancy term for frequent hunger. Some kids will seem to have an appetite that cannot be satisfied; however they are not gaining weight.
- Weight loss: You may notice minimal to extreme weight loss, even though they are eating more.
- Fatigue: You may notice your child is sleeping more, or is taking naps when they were no longer the age where taking naps would be normal. Sometimes they will lose interest in playing with friends or participating in sports due to being “tired.”
- Fruity breath: You may notice a fruity, chemical smell to your child’s breath.
These symptoms, especially the first three, are generally seen in combination with each other; however some kids may have one that stands out more than the others. Later symptoms could include heavy breathing with no known cause and decreased level of consciousness. This requires immediate medical attention.
Again, if you have any concern that your child has these symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately, or seek care immediately. When diagnosed early, type 1 diabetes is a very manageable condition and our team at Billings Clinic is here to help. For more information, visit our Pediatric Diabetes page.