Diabetes can develop in children of any age so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs.
Nappy rash. Although this can happen for lots of reasons, infants with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to yeast infections and often have persistent problems. If you know your child is at higher than average risk for juvenile diabetes – for instance because there’s a family history – you should get a test carried out in this situation.
Fruity smelling breath or urine. This happens because of a build-up of glucose which the body isn’t processing properly.
Tiredness. Children often tire themselves out simply because they don’t know when to slow down, but if you notice that your child is getting tired more quickly than in the past, or if tiredness lasts for a long time, juvenile diabetes could be a factor. Children with untreated diabetes often struggle to wake up properly in the mornings even after plenty of sleep. They may also shows signs of sleepiness and confusion over the course of the day.
Intense hunger and unexplained weight loss. Unless your child is intentionally dieting to try and shed unhealthy weight, weight loss should always be cause for concern. When it happens as a result of juvenile diabetes, children often feel hungry all the time. You may also notice a loss of muscle mass, and weakness in the arms or legs.
Changes in eyesight. All children should have regular eye tests to make sure that their sight is developing properly. Opticians are often the first to spot signs of diabetes, which can cause fluid to leak into the lens area of the eye and, if untreated, can damage the retina. On other occasions, children themselves report that they can’t see properly, or it becomes apparent that they’re struggling to read things that used to be easy for them.
Nausea and vomiting. Children are always getting minor infections that make them sick for a day or two, but if nausea and vomiting persist, you should talk to your doctor. This is particularly important if there is a family history of diabetes.