A number of studies over the last few years have shown a rise in Type 1 diabetes diagnoses. There’s a lot of speculation about what this is happening, but to date, no concrete explanation exists for why more and more people are joining the ranks of the T1D community. This increase is also happening more often in children than adults, since the vast majority of T1D diagnosis happen to kids from age 10 to 13.
While we can’t currently do anything about the increase of Type 1, we can help spread the word about the signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, so that detecting it is easier for parents and kids alike.
Most people know that increased thirst and frequent urination are tell-tale signs of diabetes, but what about the other not-so-obvious signs? Here are four common, but not always obvious, signs of diabetes in kids.
1. Sudden Changes in Vision
Having a high blood glucose level can cause swelling in the eye lenses. This, in turn, can make vision blurry. Luckily, this is only a temporary problem and generally corrects itself when the body’s blood sugar goes back into a safe, normal range.
2. Heavy Breathing
Heavy, labored breathing, which is also called Kussmaul breathing, is a form of hyperventilation that reduces carbon dioxide in the blood. This is usually associated with diabetic ketoacidosis in people with diabetes, and is a serious condition. If you notice heavy, labored breathing in your child, take them to a physician immediately.
3. Unexplained and Sudden Weight Loss
The body uses insulin to break down glucose so that it can be used for energy. When the body doesn’t produce insulin, it can’t break down glucose, so it flushes it out of the body through urination. This can result in rapid weight loss, since glucose isn’t staying in the body.
4. Sweet or Fruity Breath Odor
Fruity or sweet-smelling breath is another sign of Type 1 diabetes. The sweet odor comes from the body trying to rid itself of excess acetone and is another potential sign of ketoacidosis, which is a very serious condition. Acetone is a type of ketone, which is a product of the body burning fat for energy, and if the body doesn’t have enough insulin to break down glucose, breaking down fat is its next option.
While receiving a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis is never an easy thing to hear, keep in mind that with the right oversight and management, T1D is easily manageable. Add to that, the tools and technology available today to help make Type 1 diabetes even easier to manage on a day-to-day basis, and T1D just becomes another aspect of your life – not something that completely changes it.