Thursday, January 24, 2013

S is for... Symptoms

If people ever only read one post on my blog, then I would pray that this post would be The One.

Both of my daughter's were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My older daughter, who was diagnosed first, had been exhibiting the symptoms for well over a year.  So why didn't we catch it? Because we didn't know what the symptoms were.

Hind sight being what it is, it seems so obvious now. But at the time we attributed them to hormones, growth spurts, adolescence. Diabetes never even entered our minds.

Type 1 diabetes is a horrible thing to have to endure. There is no way you can prevent it and there is no cure for it. Your only option is to live with it and try to manage it as best you can. There's no magic formula. What works today probably won't next week. What works for your type 1 friend might not work for you. In the diabetes world there is a little acronym that is used often: YDMV. Your diabetes may vary. And believe me, it sure will.

The onset of diabetes is slow and the changes are generally subtle. Often a diagnosis isn't found until the child is very ill.  In the case of my older daughter, her onset was unusually slow and it's only by God's mercy that we found out before she was seriously ill.

Most likely diabetes isn't something that your doctor will be checking for at your well check up.  I'm told that this is because the test is some $$ and because, in the big picture, isn't considered that prevalent. About 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. It seems like a lot to me but what do I know?

Diabetes (type 1 and 2) is referred to as The Silent Killer. Because the symptoms sneak up on you. Millions of Americans right now have type 2 and don't even know it. Often times people die from it before they even know they have it.

So we don't know the symptoms and doctor's aren't routinely checking anyone for it. That is scary!! And it's a real shame.

So my dear friends, today I am sharing my knowledge in the hopes that it might one day help you or somebody that you know catch this disease early. I pray that you'll never have need of it.

Symptoms of Diabetes

1) An increased in thirst or urination.  My older daughter was drinking an insane amount. She could drink 3 quarts of water in under an hour. She's go to the bathroom upstairs, walk down the stairs, and go again. Literally. Also watch out for bed wetting to appear out of no where. Or babies soaking their diapers quickly.

We thought the drinking was due to a growth spurt/sports and, well, when you drink a lot you pee a lot.

t1p_words photo t1p_words_zpscbf104c7.jpg2) An increase in appetite. Think the appetite of a teenaged boy. Non-stop, out-of-control eating. Mackenzie would eat one of those giant boxes of Goldfish in one week. Sneaking it because I would not allow anyone to actually eat that much. So also be aware of unexplained "missing" food.  She ate because her body wasn't getting the sugar to her cells for energy so her cells were telling her body to eat more because they wanted energy. It was a vicious cycle.

And unfortunately, kids eat more during growth spurts and puberty so it's not like you would be terribly suspect of this symptom.

3) Sudden, unexplained weight loss. Mackenzie lost weight seemingly over night. A lot of weight. We first noticed it during basketball season so we attributed it to that and puberty when kids often lose their "baby fat."

More than a pound a week or 5 pounds in a month of unexplained weight loss might need to be looked into. When the body isn't getting the energy to the cells then the body will use fat stores and muscle tissue to get energy.

4) Lethargy. Extreme tiredness.

I remember the day that Mackenzie was diagnosed. We were at the park with our bikes. Mackenzie kept coming to me complaining that her bike "wasn't working right." It was "too hard to pedal." I kept testing it and switching the gears and found it to be working just fine. I also remember being irritated with her over it. :o(  She was tired because her cells weren't getting the energy they needed. Insulin is the "bridge" that gets energy to the cells. No insulin = no energy. Bad momma moment.

5) A fruity odor to the breath.  I don't remember or not if she had this because, as I said, I wasn't looking for the symptoms. But I've heard of a lot of people catching it because of this symptom.

What to do if Your Child or Anyone Else Exhibits Any of These Symptoms

Having any of these symptoms doesn't mean that they have diabetes, so you shouldn't automatically freak out, but I would definitely have my child tested.

Call your doctor and get your child an appointment ASAP. If your doctor is a big loser, like my OLD one was, go to urgent care or the ER.  My old loser ped wasn't very concerned about the symptoms or the fact that my daughter's blood sugar was over 500 (my friend with a type 1 child tested her sugar) and didn't feel it necessary to get her in for about four days. She is no longer our doctor.

The more people that know the symptoms, the more lives we can save. So please share the knowledge.



Sarah said...

Thank you for this! I think it's so good as a parent just to have the bug in your ear and be aware of the symptoms. Actually, after I read a post of yours a few weeks back, I started wondering about one of my kids. They are ok, but I am relieved to know for sure.

Your girls are so sweet!

Amy B said...

This is such good information! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. I know this was a very trying year for you. We've been praying!

Susan said...

I had no idea! Thank you for sharing your experience with your daughter---being informed parents helps us to advocate for our children when they need it.

Mary said...

Thanks for this! I have Type 2 Diabetes and I think I had it for years before I was diagnosed. I was so miserably tired all the time that I finally went to the doctor and sure enough, I was diagnosed. My brother has Type 1 and has had it since he was about 10.

I am off to share this so others can be made aware!

Our Side of the Mountain said...

You know...Sam snuggles a lot with me nights or comes in mornings...and I've thought, "His breath smells like maple syrup." Hmmm...I've told you that he had crashes as an infant, right? But since toddlerhood his doctor has said he's fine. May be! He doesn't drink/pee a lot and hasn't lost weight, but he should eats like crazy. I joke that I'll have to get a job to feed him by the time he's 10! And if he doesn't get food? Mood swings! Oh my! Defiant! Anxious! Depending! Meltdown! I think I will ask about it again during well-child. Maybe see his PARTNER instead. (We like her better. LOL) Just to what she says. He doesn't have all the major symptoms, but with the issues as an infant and the crazy eating and sweet breath...wouldn't hurt, right?

Alexis said...

My youngest Jared whose six was diagnosed with T1 diabetes last Tuesday. He just had not been himself lately real tired, moody, eating more than his teenage brother yet losing weight. Plus he always complained of being thirsty even just after drinking, went to the bathroom a ton and wet the bed every night. My husband and I were not sure what was wrong but I made him an appt. for Tuesday morning.(we homeschool) Our wonderful doctor examined him, did a urine test shocking himself with the results and ordered bloodwork.(the office has a lab)he then gave us the name of a pedatric endrocrineolgist who he talked to. She admited to the local hospital and we went home myself terrifed and Jared tired and thirstyto pack, call my husband and tell our other kids(Emily's 10,Jessica's 12 and Ryan's 16) that Jared had to go to the hospital. My husband met us there. They ran more tests, put him on insulin and gave us the diangoses T1D. Over the next few days they got his blood surgar down(it was 420), figured out his carb ratio( 1 to 40 at breakfest and 1 to 32 the rest of the day.), and teaching us everything we need to know. And giving us the mountions of supplies. Jared was released Monday and is adjusting fine.

Anonymous said...

It never hurts to be tested if you are concerned. They will take a urine sample and possibly a finger stick. My son was diagnosed last year with Type 1. We were lucky in that we caught it somewhat early, but if I had known the symptoms, it would have been even earlier. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm wondering if diabetes is hereditary? It runs on my mother's side of the family. My mom and sis have it. So do an uncle and some aunts. So far we haven't observed these symptoms in our children, and I'm pretty observant because of the other health issues we have with the kids (like asthma).

Stopping by from the Crew and with warm regards from the Philippines,
Mary at My Tropical Home

k balman said...

Praying for your family. My husband is Type 1 and has been since he was 19 but he was sick for much longer. We watch our children for symptoms all the time especially my son because he has had a genetic test done that showed he was at high risk for developing the disease. My husband has to go see a kidney specialist next month because he has had issues with his lab work. I really hate this epidemic disease and hope they find a cure soon!

Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

I'm familiar with diabetes but not the silent killer label. That is scary.

Wendy R said...

Great list. As you know, this subject is close to MY heart, as well...Jen was 10 at diagnosis (and that was 9 years ago this month!). I think I'm exhibiting some of the symptoms (would probably be Type 2 for me); just wish it'd be the weight loss part! ;)

Anonymous said...

My father(53) was just diagnosed. Went to urgent care w/ a sprained ankle came out w/ diabetes(type 2 i think) It isnot all that shocking as he has poor eating habits and family history.

Megan said...

Have you had the girls tested for celiac disease? It's more common in people w/ T1D. I have T1D(diagnosed @ 2) and celiac disease(diagnosed@ 10) I'm 14 now. I was tested for celiac after I got a new endcrocrinoligst

Chareen said...

Excellent post well written. Thank you for the information. Popping in from the comment club :)

Discovering Montessori said...

Love this post! I have a child in my care that has Diabetes and unfortunately he has to get insulin and poked while with me. He is so resilient though,I never heard him say ouch once!

Thank you for sharing.

Crystal said...

Thank you for the great information! I'm sorry your family has been given this to endure. I can tell you are the type of Mommy who will shoulder it well.

Crystal said...

Thank you for the great information! I'm sorry your family has been given this to endure. I can tell you are the type of Mommy who will shoulder it well.

Melanie Schemanski said...

I can see how easily we would miss the symptoms for diabetes especially in a preteen. The things you mention we often write off as 'normal' for their age. Great look at what the symptoms are and a wake up call for us to not write them off.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...