Type 1 diabetes is most frequent in children and young adults, but can occur at any age. This document focuses on the management of diabetes in children and young people. Guidance on the immediate management of suspected diabetes in adults can be accessed here.
Diabetes in children is almost always type 1, and the onset is fairly acute. The first symptoms are polydipsia and polyuria, which may in turn result in enuresis. Weight loss and lack of energy are often present as well. The duration of symptoms at presentation is typically between 1 and 6 weeks. The initial indications may be particularly difficult to pick up in children under 2 years of age.
Quite a few times each year, we become aware of a delay in diagnosis or referral which could have been avoided had a healthcare professional acted differently. As the condition can progress rapidly, a few days delay in diagnosis can result in Ketoacidosis, with associated morbidity and risk of death.