Diabetes alert - keep an eye on your kids

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 November 2012

Natasha and Ellena Jenks supporting a diabetes awareness campaign.

Natasha and Ellena Jenks supporting a diabetes awareness campaign.

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A YATTON mother is backing an appeal to raise greater awareness of type one diabetes to try to prevent more children from becoming seriously ill.

Jo-Anne Jenks is passionate about informing parents of the symptoms after her 12-year-old daughter Natasha was diagnosed with the condition three years ago.

It is vital type one diabetes is diagnosed quickly to stop the life-threatening condition, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), from developing.

About 500 of the 2,000 children who develop type one diabetes in the UK every year have DKA by the time they are diagnosed. Left untreated, DKA can cause severe dehydration, coma and swelling of the brain.

Jo-Anne said: “Fortunately Natasha was diagnosed before she was in DKA, although she was very unwell initially.

“The diagnosis had a huge impact on the whole family. Natasha has a twin sister, and it was very difficult for Ellena having to watch her sister go through what was a distressing time.

“Natasha’s health improved dramatically within a month of being on insulin injections, her diabetes is now well managed and she has a very good attitude towards it, which is something we have worked on very hard.”

Jo-Anne is backing Diabetes UK’s efforts to highlight the main symptoms of the condition – the four Ts – toilet, thirst, tired and thinner.

Jo-Anne said: “The symptom that really got us to visit the doctor was Natasha’s thirst. She was also lethargic and crying more often.

“If you know a child who is going to the toilet a lot, has increased thirst, is more tired than usual or is losing weight, then they need to be aware that it could be a sign of type one diabetes and it is vital that they visit a doctor immediately for a test.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, added: “The symptoms of type one diabetes are so obvious and pronounced there’s no reason why every child with the condition cannot be diagnosed straight away.

“But the stark reality is that a quarter of children with type one diabetes become seriously unwell before being diagnosed and we need to bring this appalling situation to an end.”


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