"Once you're in DKA, you're set up for some major complications, and approximately 30 percent of people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes still present with DKA," Insel said.
After a week in the intensive care unit, Di Lella recovered. Her doctor apologized for the error and said he had never had a case of type 1 diabetes, so it wasn't something he normally looked for.
Insel said it's important to compare a child's changes in behavior to the other children in the family. Is the child drinking excessively compared to a sibling? Is a child who has mastered nighttime bladder control suddenly wetting the bed again?
The good news is that it's easy to test for type 1 diabetes. A urine test can detect whether there's sugar in the blood. If that test is positive, then a simple test drawing a drop of blood from the fingertip can confirm whether you have diabetes.
Di Lella, now a student at the University of Florida, said she would advise others to "not ignore symptoms that seem so basic. Even small symptoms can be a sign of something much bigger."
Parker said she wants other parents to know that a child with type 1 diabetes "doesn't necessarily look sick. Trust your gut instinct, and push to have your child tested."
The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes that everyone should know include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Wetting the bed in a child who has previously had good nighttime bladder control
- Unintended weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Sudden changes in vision
- Unusual irritability
- Increased appetite
- A fruity odor on the breath
- Heavy or labored breathing
Learn more about the warning signs of type 1 diabetes from the JDRF.
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