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'Few parents' know type 1 diabetes symptoms

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Very few parents are able to pinpoint the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, a charity has said.

Frequent urinating, extreme thirst, unusual weight loss and excessive tiredness are identified by just 9%, a survey commissioned by Diabetes UK shows.

One in four children with the condition only get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after they become seriously ill, and the charity says that this is down to the lack of knowledge about it.

Diabetes UK has now started a campaign aimed at parents, urging them to learn how to spot the four Ts: toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner.

An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK have diabetes, 850,000 of whom have type 2 but do not know it.

Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said: “I fear that unless there is a big increase in awareness of symptoms, we will continue to see hundreds of children a year become seriously ill completely needlessly.

“We need to get the message across that if you have a child or if you work with children, you need to make it your business to know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

“We hope the four Ts will make them easier to remember and so help ensure children with the condition get diagnosed at the right time.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • As a nurse and a parent of a young person who was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 19, I am ashamed to say I ignored the symptoms for months and even accused him of taking illicit substances, drinking too much alcohol putting the weight loss down to a late growand spurt.
    On reflection I can see that he displayed all the classic symptoms. Even after doing a capillary blood sugar (which was off the scale) I refused to believe the reading and tested his sister and dad before believing the machine. Hence a midnight visit to the out of hours service and then into hospital. Luckily no DKA.
    However we were told that due to his high level of fittness due to being a sports coach this may well have prevented him from collapsing despite such a high blood sugar.

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