The warning signs of type 1 diabetes – nine out of ten parents would not recognise if their children developed life threatening symptoms
Not recognising the signs of type 2 diabetes was also a concern to study authors as it is the most prevalent form of the condition, responsible for around 90% of all diabetes cases.
Julieta Laudani, a mother from Argentina, only discovered her daughter Fran had type 1 diabetes at 18 months old when she went through eight nappies in quick succession.
At first Julieta did not think babies could have the condition and medical staff mistakenly thought Fran had a urinary infection at first.
Julieta said: “Fran was conscious, she wasn't even dehydrated or anything. We actually had no idea that diabetes could be present in little kids at all. We knew adults could get it, old people for example, but their circumstances were not like ours. There's not much knowledge. It would be great to change that.”
Professor Nam H. Cho, IDF President, said: “It is vital everyone learns to identify the warning signs of diabetes. Sadly, diabetes can be easily missed or mistaken for a different condition and this leaves people – whether children or adults – vulnerable to serious consequences.
“Diabetes can become a life-threatening disease. It has devastating complications if not treated early and managed appropriately. The rise in diabetes – particularly type 2, which is largely preventable – could in many cases be halted if people knew the warning signs and risk factors so they could adopt a healthier lifestyle or, if necessary, seek treatment. For many, particularly in developing countries, type 1 diabetes is still a death sentence. Many with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed too late when complications are already present. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
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