Early Symptoms/Worsening Symptoms
These are early symptoms of type 1 diabetes in a child:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
Over the course of several days to several weeks if a diagnosis is not made, the child’s symptoms worsen:
- Weight loss
- Possibly even a coma
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosed?
Physical signs and symptoms are important in diagnosing Diabetes. A blood sample is taken to test the glucose and blood mineral levels (electrolyte levels). A high glucose level is needed to diagnose diabetes. If the urine and blood samples show ketoacidosis, the child will receive IV fluids and an insulin infusion through the IV. Otherwise, insulin will be given subcutaneously (injected under the skin). The child will stay in the hospital for two to three days so that the family and other caregivers can learn about diabetes and the day to day management.
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Managed?
Since these children are not making enough insulin, we replace the insulin they would normally make each day. Type 1 diabetes is managed by giving the body insulin throughout the day. What the child has eaten and how active the child has been are always important.
The amount of glucose in the blood needs to be checked several times a day. Wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace helps the child get correct treatment in emergencies.
Anyone with type 1 diabetes needs to receive insulin to survive. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells make energy from food. Insulin helps to move glucose (sugar) from food into the cells of the body, where energy is created. Without insulin, the blood level of glucose is too high, which can be dangerous.
Food & Activity
Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, but part of a management program for the disease. The child’s food and physical activity need to be coordinated with the insulin doses. This helps keep the amount of glucose in the blood at a safe level. Keeping a logbook is important.
To know if the insulin dose we give is correct, children need to check blood sugars (glucose) throughout the day. If it is high, they need more insulin, and if low, it can be a result of too much insulin. Food also plays a role in this because foods with carbohydrates increase our sugar or glucose levels.
Children need to check sugars many times and this can be done with fingerstick tests and continuous glucose monitors which are used along with the fingerstick tests.