Doctors in Southampton say health professionals are not picking up on signs of type 1 diabetes

Children's lives are being put at risk due to diabetes not being spotted

Testing the blood sugar level - part of monitoring potentially serious type-1 diabetes.

Dr Justin Davies

First published in News
Last updated

CHILDREN’S lives are at risk because doctors are not recognising symptoms of a major disease, experts have warned.

Doctors in Southampton say health professionals are not picking up on signs of type 1 diabetes which is potentially fatal if untreated.

Dr Justin Davies, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Southampton Children’s Hospital, said patients were being sent to multiple clinics and having unnecessary examinations which can lead to misdiagnoses.

A recent study of 261 children aged between eight months to 16 years found a third had seen multiple doctors before being properly diagnosed, including two-thirds of children under two.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent of the 2,000 children diagnosed with the disease per year have diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Dr Davies said said: “Despite improvements in diabetes care leading to increased life expectancy, the mortality rate for children with type 1 diabetes remains higher than the general population and DKA is the leading cause of death.

“Unfortunately, the incidence of DKA in a quarter of patients at diagnosis is relatively unchanged from reports over the past 20 years and nearly twice as high as that observed in Sweden. This is a major concern.”

Dr Kemi Lokulo-Sodipe, research fellow at Southampton Children’s Hospital and co-author of the study, added parents should look out for signs such as young children in frequent need of the toilet or consistently wetting the bed.

She said: “As a nation, we need to emphasise that diabetes is common and the incidence is increasing. It can be present in babies and young children and should be at the top of the list in any child with increased toileting – including heavy wet nappies and bedwetting – but also weight loss and fatigue.”

It comes after Southampton General Hospital last month announced a new insulin-pump therapy to treat the thousands of people in the city suffering from the illness.

Diabetes can be diagnosed quickly with a finger-prick test analysing glucose in the blood.

Comments (3)

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9:31am Tue 6 May 14

SilvanDryad says...

How can parents tell if their child is urinating more than usual when they aren't being toilet trained until after they start school these days? No wonder the kids aren't being diagnosed.
How can parents tell if their child is urinating more than usual when they aren't being toilet trained until after they start school these days? No wonder the kids aren't being diagnosed. SilvanDryad
  • Score: -2

10:31am Tue 6 May 14

tootle says...

SilvanDryad wrote:
How can parents tell if their child is urinating more than usual when they aren't being toilet trained until after they start school these days? No wonder the kids aren't being diagnosed.
Simple blood test - too often forgotten. Mis/late diagnosis happens in all age children not just pre schoolers.
[quote][p][bold]SilvanDryad[/bold] wrote: How can parents tell if their child is urinating more than usual when they aren't being toilet trained until after they start school these days? No wonder the kids aren't being diagnosed.[/p][/quote]Simple blood test - too often forgotten. Mis/late diagnosis happens in all age children not just pre schoolers. tootle
  • Score: 1

4:54pm Tue 6 May 14

Millie0505 says...

Your child will be persistently thirsty, to the point that it almost becomes irritating when you don't realise what is really happening, your child will lose weight and appear fatigued, sometimes just curling up and going to sleep, young children have been known to drink out of toilets if they don't get a drink quick enough, not because of any parenting issue, simply because they are so unbelievably thirsty they will find anything to drink, and it is very simple to detect high frequency urination in a toddler/ baby, their nappies will suddenly become extremely wet and heavy and leak after a relatively short time. I am not preaching from a text or google I am describing my own personal experiences, remember the four "T"s:- toilet, tired, thirsty, thin, the symptoms need to be as well published as meningitis symptoms with more access to leaflets for parents and even television campaigns, if undetected this disease can be fatal and even once your children are diagnosed you feel as if you are constantly living with a ticking time bomb, mild illnesses become serious illnesses, any kind of wound on your hands or feet is risky, simple tummy bugs suffered regularly by children have landed my child in HDU on several occasions, PLEASE DONT UNDERESTIMATE TYPE 1 DIABETES, 6 years down the line I am still trying to come to terms with the obstacles my child will face throughout her life, BUT if they are managed well and take good care of themselves they can lead a relatively normal life. The paediatric diabetes team at the southampton general are fantastic and always just a phonecall away, they have been there for my child every step of the way and for that we will always be thankful to them all! Xxx
Your child will be persistently thirsty, to the point that it almost becomes irritating when you don't realise what is really happening, your child will lose weight and appear fatigued, sometimes just curling up and going to sleep, young children have been known to drink out of toilets if they don't get a drink quick enough, not because of any parenting issue, simply because they are so unbelievably thirsty they will find anything to drink, and it is very simple to detect high frequency urination in a toddler/ baby, their nappies will suddenly become extremely wet and heavy and leak after a relatively short time. I am not preaching from a text or google I am describing my own personal experiences, remember the four "T"s:- toilet, tired, thirsty, thin, the symptoms need to be as well published as meningitis symptoms with more access to leaflets for parents and even television campaigns, if undetected this disease can be fatal and even once your children are diagnosed you feel as if you are constantly living with a ticking time bomb, mild illnesses become serious illnesses, any kind of wound on your hands or feet is risky, simple tummy bugs suffered regularly by children have landed my child in HDU on several occasions, PLEASE DONT UNDERESTIMATE TYPE 1 DIABETES, 6 years down the line I am still trying to come to terms with the obstacles my child will face throughout her life, BUT if they are managed well and take good care of themselves they can lead a relatively normal life. The paediatric diabetes team at the southampton general are fantastic and always just a phonecall away, they have been there for my child every step of the way and for that we will always be thankful to them all! Xxx Millie0505
  • Score: 3

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