How to tell if your child is diabetic? Symptoms of diabetes in kids.

Dr. Sandro Cantoni. Updated: 20 September 2021

The prevalence of diabetes in children is increasing constantly.

In particular, the disease tends to appear in more and more young children.

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The two main types of diabetes.

Type I Diabetes

This form of diabetes accounts for about 25% of all diabetic patients, and 90% of diabetes cases in children.

It can affect people of all ages, but it occurs most commonly between the ages of 0 and 30 years, with two peaks of incidence, one around the age of 5 and a more important one between 10 and 12 years, during pubertal development.

Type II Diabetes

This is the form of diabetes that usually affects people over 40-50 years of age and is associated with overweight.

Recently, especially in America, Asia and Australia, an increasing number of type II diabetes is being diagnosed in overweight boys and adolescents.

This phenomenon is also favored by the high prevalence of childhood obesity.

Diabetes in children. What are the symptoms?

In Type I Diabetes, due to insufficient insulin production, blood sugar levels rise progressively.

When glycemia (blood glucose concentration) exceeds 180 mg/dl, some of the excess sugar is eliminated in the urine.

This explains many of the symptoms.

Since sugar needs a lot of water to be diluted, the elimination of high quantities of urine appears frequently as the first symptom. The child is often going to the toilet or always has a full diaper.

When blood glucose levels are very high it is necessary to get up to urinate even during the night. In fact, children as young as 3-4 years old may start wetting the bed again.

In addition, since a lot of fluids are lost with urine, they must be taken up. This is associated with another symptom called polydipsia, which is intense thirst. The child wants to drink continuously.

Then, as mentioned above, with the urine are lost important amounts of fluids that determine dryness of the skin and mucous membranes. The child becomes dehydrated. 

The child loses weight.The weight loss is explained by dehydration, and by the fact that the cells, while having high levels of sugar in the blood, due to the lack of insulin can not use it. So they exploit second-rate energy sources such as fat storage and muscle protein.

Then intense fatigue appears even in the absence of activity.

Subsequently, if the diagnosis is not made and insulin therapy is not started, the child goes into ketoacidosis.

The fats used as “second hand” fuel produce scoriae, ketone bodies (such as acetone) that are eliminated through the blood, in the urine and in the exhaled air (acetonemic breath).  Acetone increases fatigue and causes bellyaches and vomiting.

If this process continues the child goes into a serious condition called ketoacidosis , which can lead to ketoacidotic coma, a serious acute situation that requires urgent hospitalization.

Conclusions

Diabetes in children is a disease that can be serious if not diagnosed early.

It is very important that parents take their child to the doctor at the first symptoms.

If your child urinates and drinks more than usual, or starts bedwetting again, he/she MAY HAVE DIABETES!