Parents 'failing to spot diabetes'

Fewer than one in ten parents can identify the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, new figures suggest, meaning many children are not diagnosed until they become ill.

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X Factor's Amelia Lily backs diabetes campaign

Former X Factor contestant Amelia Lily, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was three years old, is backing the campaign.

X Fcator's Amelia Lily suffers from diabetes Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

She said: "I feel very strongly that every parent and carer needs to know about Diabetes UK's 4 Ts campaign.

"My symptoms included drinking a lot more than normal and going to the toilet a lot.

"I was very lucky as my nana realised what was wrong with me because my uncle had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 14.

"It's so important that anyone who looks after children - not just parents but teachers, carers and other family members - knows how to spot the signs of diabetes.

"So many children are still getting really poorly before they are diagnosed and I want to help put a stop to that."


What is diabetic ketoacidosis?

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication of diabetes that is caused by a lack of insulin in the body.

DKA occurs when the body is unable to break down glucose because there isn't enough insulin.

Instead, it breaks down fat as an alternative source of fuel. This causes a build-up of a by-product called ketones.

Most cases of DKA occur in people with type 1 diabetes, although it can also be a complication of type 2 diabetes.

3.7 million people have diabetes in the UK

  • About 500 of the 2,000 children who develop Type 1 diabetes in the UK every year have DKA by the time they are diagnosed.
  • In the UK, there are 3.7 million people with diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it.
  • As many as 7 million people are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and if current trends continue, an estimated 4 million people will have diabetes by 2015.

What to do if a child shows signs of the 4 Ts

If your child has any symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, Diabetes UK recommend you take them straight to the doctor and insist on a test for Type 1 diabetes there and then.

A simple finger-prick blood test can diognose Type 1 diabetes Credit: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

The charity say that the test consists in a quick and simple finger-prick blood test, which your GP can carry out straight away.

If the result indicates Type 1 diabetes, the GP should refer the child to a specialist paediatric diabetes team the same day.

Your child should get immediate treatment to bring their diabetes under control and to prevent DKA, say the charity.

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