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With a rise in cases of type 1 diabetes in children this year, the lead consultant for paediatric and adolescent diabetes in the Southern Trust, is calling on parents and young people to be aware of the signs and symptoms and not to ignore them. 

Type 1 diabetes is a serious autoimmune condition which results in the body not being able to produce the hormone insulin which controls blood glucose (sugar) levels. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is the most common type of diabetes in both children and young adults. Diet and lifestyle play no role in the development of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a totally different condition to type 2.

Dr Sarinda Millar
Dr Sarinda Millar

Dr Sarinda Millar, who was also a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion says “We are definitely seeing more new cases of type 1 diabetes in children compared to previous years. For example in just one week in January we had nine new cases from our trust area alone. We are also finding that more new patients are presenting sicker in diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life threatening if not treated quickly. 

“The cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet fully understood but is likely to include a variety of environmental and genetic reasons. Viruses are also felt to play a role and there have been some initial studies exploring a potential link between Covid-19 and type 1 diabetes. We are currently embarking on our own research to explore if exposure to Covid-19 increases your risk of developing type 1 diabetes.” 

Dr Millar stresses the importance of watching out for the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and if you suspect you or your child may have type 1 diabetes please seek medical attention immediately.

“A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be worrying for young people and their parents but with timely diagnosis and support from the inter professional diabetes team there is absolutely no reason anyone cannot lead a normal life. Type 1 diabetes should not stop you from doing anything as our ‘Diabetic Duo’ show.

Dr Millar adds: “There are four key symptoms, known as the four Ts which indicate that you or your child may have Type 1 diabetes:  

1.going to the Toilet more than normal, 

2.being really Thirsty

3.Tiredness and

4.getting Thinner. 

If you notice any of these you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.” 

The Southern area T1DCAT (Type 1 Diabetes Children and Teenagers) charity supports children and young people with Type 1 diabetes and their families. You  can follow them on Facebook T1DCAT 

For more information on Type 1 diabetes go to 

WWW.DIABETES.ORG.UK  or WWW.PUBLICHEALTH.HSCNI.NET

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