Early Warning Signs of Juvenile Diabetes

intense hunger

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  • As with other diseases, juvenile diabetes is associated with several warning signs
  • Unfortunately, identifying these symptoms in children and teenagers is not easy

Juvenile diabetes is another term for Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents. As with other diseases, there are several symptoms and warning signs associated with it . In adults, these early signs may be written off as insignificant body changes.

Unfortunately, identifying these symptoms in children and teenagers is not easy especially considering that youngsters usually find it difficult to express exactly how they feel.1

If you think that your child is at risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, then it's best to expand your knowledge about the telltale signs of this condition. Remember that early diagnosis is important for proper management of juvenile diabetes.

Common Symptoms of Juvenile Diabetes That You Should Look Out For

Since children may find it difficult to explain or understand the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, it's important that you observe your child for any unusual behavior that indicates the development of this disease. Here are some of the common warning signs that you should be alert of:2,3

  • Intense thirst and frequent urination — Extreme thirst is caused by high blood sugar levels, which pulls fluid from the tissues. As a result, your child may drink and urinate more than usual. Potty-trained children may also experience bed-wetting issues when suffering from juvenile diabetes.
  • Intense hunger — The feeling of intense hunger is triggered when the muscles and organs do not receive the energy that they need. Increased appetite accompanied with unexplained weight loss is one of the first signs of Type 1 diabetes.
  • Yeast infection — Excessive amounts of glucose in the blood may promote the growth of yeast in the body. As a result, your child may develop diaper rashes or genital yeast infections.
  • Fruity-smelling breath and/or urine — Sweet-smelling breath and/or urine indicates that the body is burning sugar for fuel and producing toxic amounts of ketones, which have a distinct fruity smell.4 Be sure to take your child to a doctor right away if you notice this warning sign.
  • Change in vision — High glucose levels may pull the fluid from your child's eyes and cause their eyesight to become blurry. This is one of the hardest symptoms to diagnose, as very young children may not be able to explain changes in their vision yet. Squinting and improper eye movements are some of the common signs of a blurry vision.5

Restlessness and irritability may also be a warning sign of juvenile diabetes, especially if they occur together with the symptoms mentioned above. Your child may experience fatigue and lethargy as well, and small cuts and sores may take a longer time to heal. If your child encounters any of the aforementioned symptoms, consult a doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis.

How Is Juvenile Diabetes Diagnosed?

The diagnostic procedure for juvenile diabetes is similar to that of Type 1 diabetes in adults. A series of blood tests may be recommended to determine the blood glucose levels.

This procedure usually involves random blood sugar tests, glycated hemoglobin tests and fasting blood sugar tests. Additional medical exams may also be required to verify the presence of ketones and antibodies that are usually found in people with Type 1 diabetes.6

After the diagnosis, you may need to schedule regular checkups with your child's doctor every three to six months to keep track of your child's condition and determine any treatment changes that need to be done.7

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