How to spot the warning signs of diabetes in children

FRESNO, Calif.

Shannon Lyles is a registered nurse, diabetes educator, and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at 16 after she realized something was really wrong.

"I was getting up four, five, six times a night and it just kept progressively getting worse," Shannon P. Lyles, BSN, RN, CDE, Registered Nurse Specialist, University of Florida, Pediatric Endocrinology said.

"Typical features are polydipsia, meaning drinking too much, and polyuria, urinating too much," Desmond Schatz, MD, Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director, Diabetes Center, University of Florida College of Medicine said.

Dr. Schatz says those are two common signs of diabetes, but there are lesser known symptoms we shouldn't ignore.

"A child, for example, who's been potty trained and then suddenly starts wetting the bed at night. Constipation may occur in addition, particularly in those patients who are under the age of ten, and the appearance of recurrent boils on the skin," Dr. Schatz explained.

Also, look for changes in a child's energy, and for girls, "we certainly can explain it in babies with diapers, but if a five or six year old develops recurrent vaginal infections, you should think about diabetes," Dr. Schatz said.

Call it a twist of fate or mere coincidence, but Dr. Schatz diagnosed Shannon over a decade ago and today they partner up in the fight against diabetes.

"It's forever. So, it's never going away unless they come up with a cure," Shannon said.

CDC numbers show that there are 25.8 million people in the U.S. with diabetes and seven million have not been diagnosed yet. Alarming statistics, but doctors remain optimistic.

"There's always hope," Dr. Schatz said.

Adults should be aware of high blood pressure, kidney damage, nerve damage, and if left undiagnosed the result could be fatal.

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