When your child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes

type one diabetes diagnosed

“Our biggest goal in properly managing diabetes is to help the patient and family achieve a lifetime of good health.”

Dr. Priti and Chetanbabu M. Patel, TMCOne pediatric endocrinolgists

If your child has received a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis you may be feeling overwhelmed. While the condition develops gradually, the symptoms can seem to appear overnight.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes

  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger or loss of appetite
  • Dry skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness
  • Fruity breath
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Delays in wound repair or infection control
  • Nausea and vomiting

Not all children will present with the same signs and symptoms. Some children may present with few or none of the above symptoms and some children may present with many.

Is there a cure for Type 1 diabetes?

While there isn’t a cure yet, the past decade and specifically since about 2014, leading-edge technology is helping the diabetes community.

Today some insulin pumps are capable of making micro adjustments to help the patient curb hyperglycemia (low blood sugar) and can turn off the insulin supply if the patient is experiencing hypoglycemia.

Continuous glucose monitors allow patients and families to glance at a screen at any moment to see glucose levels in real time. These advancements are without a doubt life-changing.

However, we still have not discovered the elusive cure. Until that time, it is imperative children with diabetes and their families feel supported and confident in their ability to control blood glucose levels. Please remember people with diabetes do incredible things every day. There are actors, Olympians, scientists and neurosurgeons with diabetes. People with diabetes can live long, productive and healthy lives!

Why is it so important that my child learns to manage Type 1 diabetes?

“We know that if we can help get the glucose (sugar) levels down in the first 5 years, those children will have a smaller number of complications than children who were not able to properly manage their diabetes,” said Dr. Patel. “The three main complications we try to prevent as an adult or older teenager are eye disease, kidney disease and nerve disease.”

Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition with life-threatening implications if not under control. We know the habits children develop at an early age can stay with them for a lifetime. If children remain supported and encouraged to care for themselves early on, they can develop positive coping skills which can help keep them healthy and happy into adulthood.

What does it mean to ‘manage’ diabetes?

When people with Type 1 diabetes eat carbohydrates–whether whole wheat bread, pasta, fruit or candy–they must inject insulin into their body to help their body move the glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells. You must figure out just how much insulin to inject based upon the amount of carbohydrates consumed. As children’s bodies are constantly growing their insulin needs increase making this adjustment an ever changing target.

Learning how to count carbohydrates at every meal can be demanding for a family. Even families with the best routine can easily forget to cover carbohydrates at a busy family event or on a long road trip. The reality of it is that sometimes life gets in the way. Learning to plan, cope, organize and forgive yourself are some of the best tools for any new Type 1 diabetes family.

The child’s pediatric endocrinology team can be a support system to help the family understand how to safely manage changes in insulin requirements.

What should I do if I think my child may have Type 1 diabetes?

As noted earlier, some children present with few or none of the symptoms listed above, and some children may present with many.

Remember, children go through growth spurts and might ask for more water, might sleep a little more or might be constantly hungry. These symptoms might seem normal, but they could also be clues to a potential diabetes diagnosis.

If you’re concerned, don’t delay. Ask your child’s primary care provider for a glucose test. Depending on the result, the PCP may order additional tests, may start your child on insulin or have your child admitted to the hospital for close monitoring.

Don’t doubt your parental gut feeling! Untreated diabetes can escalate quickly to critical diagnoses like diabetes ketoacidosis or coma. If your child DOES have diabetes, TMC and TMCOne can form a team to help support your child to learn to care for this manageable chronic condition.

You can find the TMCOne pediatric endocrinologist contact information here.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461