How to Tell If a Child Is Diabetic

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Diabetes refers to a disease that affects how the body processes and stores glucose. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, typically strikes children, teens and young adults, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF). In this type of diabetes, the autoimmune system launches an attack on your child’s pancreas, disabling insulin production — and insulin is needed to control glucose levels. Distinctive signs and symptoms are associated with type 1 diabetes in children. Please consult your child’s pediatrician if you suspect he may have diabetes.

Step 1

Take note of change in bathroom habits. Too much glucose in the body makes your child’s kidneys respond by trying to flush out the excess. Children with diabetes urinate frequently — and more.

Step 2

See if your child appears thirstier than usual. All those trips to the bathroom make your child dehydrated, fueling her need to replenish fluids. Children with diabetes drink a lot of liquids to keep body fluids in balance.

Step 3

Look for weight loss — or lack of weight gain that typically accompanies growth. Your child may have a healthy appetite. In fact, children and teens with type 1 diabetes tend to eat more. However, they cannot gain weight because their muscle and fat are used as “fuel.”

Step 4

Make a mental note of pronounced fatigue, moodiness and general crankiness. Because your child’s body can’t use glucose for energy, he may feel on the low end of the down-and-outs.

Step 5

Keep an eye on changes in your child’s vision. High blood sugar causes fluid to retract from the lenses of the eyes, which in turn gives your child blurry vision.

Step 6

Promptly schedule a visit to the pediatrician if you notice any of these signs. Only a doctor can recommend the right diagnostic tests needed before diagnosing your child with diabetes.

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