Knowing the signs for Type 1 Diabetes in your child

Published on Monday 27 April 2020

Knowing the Signs for Type 1 Diabetes in your Child

Diabetes UK is urging parents not to let coronavirus fears stop them from seeking medical help if they’re worried their child is showing the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes. Please seek emergency care if you need it.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form in children and young people. The early signs and symptoms are easy to mistake for a viral infection or other illness, which is why it’s so important to be aware of the 4Ts.

What are the 4Ts?

• Toilet - Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies

• Thirsty - Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst

• Tired - Feeling more tired than usual

• Thinner - Losing weight or looking thinner than usual

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes come on very quickly – over a few days or weeks – and need urgent treatment. Not acting on these early symptoms can lead to children becoming very sick with Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). If a child or young person does not receive immediate treatment for DKA, it can lead to coma, or even death. The quicker a child is diagnosed, the less likely they are to become seriously ill.

These symptoms of type 1 diabetes are also the most common symptoms in adults, who should equally be type 1 aware, and other symptoms can include infections such as thrush, or blurred vision.

While the UK is under lockdown, Diabetes UK has also been hearing anecdotally from clinicians that disproportionate numbers of young people are arriving for urgent care already in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is serious but it is entirely preventable if people act, and fast, if they suspect type 1 diabetes.

Information about the signs and symptoms of all types of diabetes can be found here: