Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) get into cells to be used for energy. Glucose comes from the food you eat. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make any insulin, or it can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems if not managed correctly, so it’s important to know the warning signs, especially in children and teens. Here are five of the most common diabetes symptoms in kids:
- Frequent urination. A child who is drinking more fluids than usual may be experiencing high blood sugar levels.
- Frequent hunger. A child with high blood sugar may feel hungry all the time, but this is usually because their body cannot process the food they eat properly. Children with type 1 diabetes tend to eat more because they have low blood sugar levels and don’t know how much food will raise their blood sugar level — so they keep eating until they feel better again.
- Extreme thirst. This is also a sign that your child’s blood sugar levels are too high and that they need treatment right away. Dry mouth is one of the most common signs of diabetes in children. It’s caused by high blood sugar levels in the body and can lead to frequent urination and dehydration. Letting your child know that it’s okay to ask for water at any time is important because they may not feel thirsty until they get dehydrated.
- Unexplained weight loss. If your child has lost weight without trying and you notice other symptoms that could indicate diabetes, talk to your doctor right away.
- Fatigue or weakness. Your child may experience fatigue or weakness if their blood sugar levels are too low from not eating enough carbohydrates.