A Scottish campaign has been launched to encourage parents and medics to detect the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children as soon as possible.
Around one in four children who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are already suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening short-term condition where the body breaks down fatty tissue and produces ketones as an alternative energy source to glucose.
Diagnosing type 1 diabetes early in children can prevent DKA, with warning signs often including increased thirst, excessive urination, unexplained weight loss and feeling tired all the time.
Scotland has the fifth highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world, which is increasing by roughly three per cent annually. Earlier this year, national charity Diabetes Scotland revealed people are struggling to manage their diabetes because they don’t know how to.
As part of this new campaign, materials have been sent to all GP surgeries and local diabetes networks are working on spreading awareness of type 1 diabetes symptoms.
A second round of diabetes guidelines and alerts will be distributed to GPs soon, and further work targeting young children and teenagers is scheduled for early next year.
Jane-Claire Judso, director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is a lot for any child and their family to take in and respond to. It fundamentally changes a child’s life and has significant repercussions for the family and how they live their lives.
“What can make this transition even harder is if your child’s symptoms are not picked up early and they experience severe diabetic ketoacidosis.”
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt added: “Unfortunately, there are still children who are seriously ill by the time they are diagnosed with onset type 1 diabetes.
“This causes unnecessary suffering to them and to their families. By spotting the early warning signs and getting tested, all this can be avoided.”

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