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I fear my child has Type 1 Diabetes

Edited: 29.01.2024

Yong Xuan Ooi

HelloType1 Coordinator Malaysia, A4D

1. Introduction

Every parent prioritizes their child's health.

Most parents look for signs that something might be wrong with their child.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that can make parents worry. When a child is told he has juvenile diabetes, it can be a lot for their parents. Let us go through this together and talk about what Type 1 Diabetes and how to deal with it.

Your child's success in life is POSSIBLE even with Type 1 Diabetes.

2. Understanding Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, usually starts in infancy, childhood, and adolescence but Type 1 Diabetes symptoms usually does not show up until a child is at least five years old.

People often think that eating too much sugar causes Type 1 Diabetes. But a person's diet does not cause Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition where the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system, so the body cannot make insulin. Lack of insulin causes blood glucose levels to rise. Long-term high blood glucose levels can cause serious health problems. High blood glucose levels (or hyperglycemia) can make a person more likely to get heart disease, a stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, or nerve damage.

3. Being Aware of the "4T" Signs of type 1 diabetes

Babies and young children often drink a lot. But if your child suddenly loses a lot of weight or seems more tired or thirsty than normal, this could be a sign of juvenile diabetes.

Young children who have Type 1 Diabetes often do not know what is wrong because they cannot explain how they feel.

Here are the "4T" early signs that can help parents figure out if their child has Type 1 Diabetes:

  • T1. Toilet: This means urinating more often. Babies and children may have wet diapers or wet the bed more often.

  • T2. Thirsty: Extreme thirst that lasts for a long time and getting up several times at night to drink water can be a dangerous sign.

  • T3. Tired. When there is no insulin to convert the glucose we get from food into energy, this leads to high blood glucose level. With high blood glucose, the body cells cannot use glucose as energy. This makes one feel tired and weak.

  • T4. Thinness: When there is no insulin and the body cannot use the glucose properly, the body creates energy by burning fat and muscle quickly, resulting to ketoacidosis and unexplained weight loss.

If someone with Type 1 Diabetes loses more than 5% of their body weight in less than 6 months for no obvious reason, please have this checked out by doctors.

4. Additional Signs

  • Increased hunger: Even if kids with juvenile diabetes eats more, they may still feel hungry because food is not giving their body the energy it needs.

  • Blurry vision: High blood glucose level may affect the eyes, making harder for kids with Type 1 Diabetes to see clearly.

  • Fruity breath smell: If your child's breath smells fruity or sweet, it could be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous complication of Type 1 Diabetes.

  • Yeast infection: Girls with Type 1 Diabetes may experience getting yeast infections more often.

Keep in mind that Type 1 Diabetes is manageable for your child with the right combination of knowledge, persistence, patience, and attitude. With the right treatment plan, strong social support, and lifestyle adjustments, your child with Type 1 Diabetes has an excellent chance of a long and happy life.

5. Taking Action

To keep your child fit and avoid problems, you need to understand juvenile diabetes early on and treat it the right way.

If your child shows one or more of the above signs, don't worry. Do what comes next instead:

  • Consult a doctor: Visit your child's paediatrician or family doctor. They can test the blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels. These tests can diagnose Type 1 Diabetes and prepare a treatment plan.

  • Monitor blood glucose level: A paediatric endocrinologist may be referred if your child's blood glucose levels are high. Regular blood glucose check is helpful in treating Type 1 Diabetes.

  • Educate yourself: The more you know about Type 1 Diabetes (how insulin works, importance of exercise and balanced diet), the faster you can manage your child's blood glucose level.

  • Find a support group: Getting to know other families who are going through the same thing as yours through online sites and social media groups can help your family feel less alone and give you good tips.

6. Conclusion

When a kid is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, it can be difficult for both the child and the parents. Sadness, rage, and fear are all typical emotions to experience.

It's also normal to worry about your child's health, but if you know the signs of Type 1 Diabetes and act quickly, you can make a big difference.

It is important to talk to a doctor to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. Likewise, it makes a positive difference for the whole family to help the child deal with Type 1 Diabetes and meet their emotional, mental, and physical needs. Keep in touch with your healthcare team and learn as much as you can about type 1 diabetes.

Remember that your child's type 1 diabetes is just one part of their unique journey, and that with your help, they can do VERY WELL.

HelloType1's website, Facebook group, and YouTube educational videos are all good places to learn about type 1 diabetes. This will help educate, empower, and involve your family. Feel free to get in touch.

Icon Disclaimer:

You are not alone!

There are many people who have the condition.

on the Type 1 Facebook community.