Diabetes: 4 warning signs of ‘dangerous’ high blood sugar in children

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. However, the key symptoms of autoimmune disease in children are commonly are misdiagnosed. If left untreated, type 1 diabetes can lead to «a potentially dangerous condition» called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

The researcher Johan Wesall, from the University of GothenburgSweden, explained to Express that DKA occurs when cells (deprived of glucose) burn fat for energy.

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To better understand this, it helps to know the role of blood sugar in the body.

Blood sugar (i.e. glucose) is the energy obtained from food that the cells of the body need to function.

so that the cells of the body absorb glucose the hormone insulin It must be present and it must work.

Think of insulin as the key that opens the doors to the cells and allows glucose to enter.

Without an adequate and efficient supply of insulin, the cells cannot get enough energy to function.

When cells begin to burn fat for energythe resulting side effect is the accumulation of ketones.

ketones can be extremely dangeroussince high levels can trigger a coma and even death.

«The only way to prevent DKA in patients with new-onset type 1 diabetes is start insulin therapy urgently,» the researchers noted.

However, this could be a obstacle for children experiencing symptoms of diabetes.

The Gothenburg research team surveyed the carers of 237 children and adolescents (under 19 years of age) who had been admitted to hospital with new-onset type 1 diabetes. between 2015 and 2017.

«Up to 43 percent of these children were not immediately referred to a pediatric emergency roomindicating a substantial delay of the doctor«, noted the research team.

Classic symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Wersall investigated 112 cases in which parents had first taken their child to a primary care doctor, only to take them to a hospital emergency room. in the next four weeks.

In 64 percent of cases, the primary care physician did not detect symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

While 48 parent cases involved a late referral to hospital emergency care.

Despite children displaying classic warning signs of diabetes, only 42 percent of cases were analyzed to determine glucose levels in the blood or urine.

Wersall wants to see «a better understanding and general awareness of diabetes symptoms,» especially among caregivers and doctors.

This is to help prevent cases of CAD, which can be fatal for patients.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes – in full:

  • Going to the bathroom a lot, especially at night
  • being very thirsty
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • lose weight without explanation
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased hunger.

The results of the study were published in the academic journal Pediatric Diabetes.