Petition calls for type 1 diabetes symptoms to be included in NHS’ “Red Book”

A petition has been launched to highlight the dangers of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes, and why the symptoms should be made clear to new parents.

The petition, set up by Emma Warrington, calls for the symptoms of type 1 diabetes to be included in the Personal Child Health Record given to parents.

This is also known as the “Red Book”, and is provided by the NHS when a newborn child is roughly 10 days old. It should be used by parents until the child is around four years old, and includes information on immunisations, growth charts, screening and routine reviews.

Parents need to take the Red Book with them to GP and clinic appointments, as well as any time their child has to go to A&E. It serves as an invaluable tool in raising a child, and Warrington states just why including the symptoms of type 1 diabetes is so important.

“A child is five times more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes than meningitis, yet the symptoms are not documented in the red baby book that every new parent is given. If left untreated, or if diagnosed late children die of diabetic ketoacidosis, this is FACT.”

It is a strong point. Especially as one in six parents in the United Kingdom are unaware when their child displays the symptoms of type 1 diabetes – according to a 2014 poll.

The symptoms of hyperglycemia, which are listed below, can lead to type 1 diabetes, but may understandably be attributed by parents and family members to a cold or the flu.

It can be extremely dangerous if type 1 diabetes is left untreated for too long, though. Roughly one in four children diagnosed with type 1 are suffering with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can result in coma or death if not treated quickly.

In July, five-year-old Kycie Terry died from undiagnosed type 1, with her initial symptoms developing within a few days. One week after first complaining of a headache, Kycie suffered DKA and entered a 24-hour coma. She passed away seven months later.

When asked about the petition, Warrington explained Kycie’s death was a primary factor in setting it up. “I tried the petition a few years ago, but didn’t get very far with it,” she said. “After the tragic passing of Kycie, I decided that I would try again. I am amazed at how it has taken off.”

Providing parents with this information is essential, as being able to recognise the four main symptoms (4 T’s) of type 1 diabetes – Toilet, Thirsty, Tired and Thinner – can lead to type 1 being diagnosed before DKA sets in.

Warrington, whose husband and son have type 1, added: “I’ve spoken to countless families who carried their children into the hospital dying. I think it (type 1 symptoms) needs to be in the book as people just don’t know the signs.”

If the petition receives 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the Houses of Parliament. As of writing, 2,078 people have signed the petition – and much support is needed to get the petition to its target.

Adding the symptoms of type 1 to the Red Book is incredibly not yet a priority for the Department of Health, but petitions such as this are vital not only for raising diabetes awareness, but also making a difference that could improve people’s lives.

You can sign the petition here.

Diabetes.co.uk fully supports this petition and believes including the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in the Red Book is extremely important for parents. Not everyone knows these symptoms, and many cases of DKA could be prevented if this petition leads to the Department of Health implementing this change.

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Editorial Manager of Diabetes.co.uk. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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