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Media Release

Date: 14 November 2016

RUH raises awareness of Type 1 Diabetes for World Diabetes Day

It's World Diabetes Day on Monday 14 November 2016 and the Royal United Hospital (RUH), NHS Foundation Trust's Paediatric Diabetes Team are raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes in Children.

Dr Clare Edmonds, Consultant Paediatrician, at the RUH said:

"Type 1 diabetes is very different from the more common Type 2 and early diagnosis is key. Type 1 Diabetes is becoming more prevalent especially in younger children, as the diagnosis can be more difficult to spot."

This unfortunately, was the case for Patricia Welsh, an administrator at the RUH. She explains:

"Four years ago, my daughter was admitted to the RUH critically ill with what I later found out was Diabetic Ketoacidosis. When the condition was explained to me, I realised that all the signs and symptoms had been present for an extended period; and guilt followed. Although I could not have prevented the condition developing, had I known the signs and symptoms perhaps I could have prevented her admission to intensive care."

Patricia wants others to learn from her experience, she says:

"If through this awareness campaign even one family can avoid the trauma of a late diagnosis that for me would be a silver lining."

When diabetes is suspected and diagnosed early, before the child becomes too unwell, the family is in a much better position to adjust to the diagnosis, begin treatment and learn about the condition without high levels of anxiety and fear that may otherwise be present.

The 4 Ts highlight the four most common signs which can help people spot the symptoms. They are:

  1. Toilet – is the person going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies?
  2. Thirsty – is the person really thirsty and not able to quench their thirst?
  3. Tired – is the person feeling more tired than usual?
  4. Thinner – is the person losing weight or looking thinner than usual?

Dr Edmonds continues:

"The symptoms can often be attributed to normal childhood behaviors, for example not going to bed early enough and being tired due to school and other activities. But if they are also drinking lots of fluid, going to the toilet more frequently, having naps and there's signs of weight loss, do see your GP and tell them that the signs for Type 1 Diabetes have been recognised."

Further information about Type 1 Diabetes can be found on Bath, Wiltshire & North Somerset Diabetes Service website: bathdiabetes.org or www.diabetes.org.uk.

ENDS
Notes to editor:

If you would like to interview someone from the RUH Paediatric Diabetes Team please contact Rebecca Hedges in the Communications Team via email or the numbers at the top of this release.


The Facts on Type 1 Diabetes:

  • 500 children every year become seriously ill with diabetic ketoacidosis because the early signs of Type 1 diabetes are missed
  • There are approximately 31,500 children with Type 1 diabetes in the UK and it is becoming more common in children; research is ongoing through Diabetes UK, JDRF and studies such as TrialNet
  • The peak age for diagnosing Type 1 diabetes is 10–14, but it is the under 5's age group has seen the steepest rise in recent years
  • It is a life-long, chronic condition, which cannot be prevented
  • It is a condition caused by a lack of the hormone 'insulin' in the body and requires insulin multiple times a day, usually via self-administered injections
  • Happens when a gland called the pancreas, which lies between the stomach and the backbone, stops producing insulin
  • Early diagnosis can prolong the endogenous production of insulin by the pancreas, optimising long term health for children and young people
  • Early diagnosis avoids, for children and their families, the trauma of a hospital admission due to Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood. People often seek medical help, because they are seriously ill from sudden symptoms of high blood sugar. The person may not have symptoms before diagnosis. Usually the disease is discovered in adulthood, but an increasing number of children are being diagnosed with the disease.
Episodes of low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are common. There are no episodes of low blood sugar level, unless the person is taking insulin or certain diabetes medicines.
It cannot be prevented. It can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating sensibly, and exercising regularly.

Useful links:

Bath, Wiltshire & North Somerset Diabetes Service: www.bathdiabetes.org.

Getting involved with World Diabetes Day:

Twitter: twitter.com/WDD (tweet with #WDD)
Facebook: facebook.com/worlddiabetesday

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