Please welcome guest blogger Kathy Teel to Fighting Fatigue. Kathy Teel and her husband, Matt, are the proprietors of Teel Writing and Editing Services. They also teach college classes and raise three great kids.
Doctors really don’t know what causes Type 1 diabetes, the type most common to children. Research is being done to explore both genetics and environmental triggers, but many kids who are diagnosed with diabetes have no family history of it at all.
Diabetes is manageable; kids who have this condition can live normal, active lives if they pay close attention to treating their condition. If your child doesn’t do this conscientiously, he or she might develop several undesirable complications. It’s important that a child not be deliberately frightened about the possible long-term effects of diabetes, but it’s also vital that they take it seriously. Nobody wants to think of their kids suffering from nerve damage, blindness, heart disease or amputation.
So how do you know if your child has diabetes? There are some symptoms that all parents should be on the lookout for:
- Excessive thirst. Is your child constantly asking for something to drink?
- Frequent urination. If you find yourself saying, “Are you in the bathroom again?”…pay attention!
- Drowsiness or lethargy. They fall asleep over their homework, or they just can’t get the energy to do things they used to enjoy. If you’ve tried adjusting your child’s bedtime and it isn’t helping, bring this to your doctor’s attention.
- Sugar in urine. Obviously your doctor will have to test this, but it’s a pretty significant indicator.
- Sudden vision changes. The cells in the eyes are being attacked by the immune system, so vision decreases fairly quickly. Many child and adult diabetes patients are referred for diagnosis by their eye doctor.
- Increased appetite. Are they suddenly hungry all the time, and can’t seem to get enough? They could be going through a growth spurt, as all kids do…but it could be diabetes.
- Sudden weight loss. None of that food is being processed like it should be. Instead of gaining weight, they might lose weight very quickly.
- Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath. The imbalance of sugar and insulin in the blood can come out in strange ways, including very sweet breath.
- Heavy, labored breathing. Your child might find it hard to catch his or her breath, even if they aren’t doing anything strenuous.
- Stupor, unconsciousness. If diabetes goes too long without being diagnosed, it can cause kids to faint or, in extreme cases, fall into a coma.
Taken alone, most of these symptoms seem harmless, but together, they could indicate the presence of Type 1 diabetes. Don’t be afraid to bring them up to your doctor; he or she can judge whether there’s anything to be concerned about. The sooner you start treatment, the more likely your child is to live a normal, active life.