Signs of Juvenile Diabetes – Watch for These Warning Signs

The signs of juvenile diabetes are very important to recognize. They can present in different ways in different children; however, there are some key warning signs that should prompt immediate attention from medical professionals.

Before listing the signs of juvenile diabetes, it is necessary to distinguish between the two types.

Years ago the term juvenile diabetes was synonymous with type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body stops producing insulin.

However, in recent years there has been a steep increasing in the number of cases of type 2 diabetes in children. In juvenile diabetes type 2, insulin is still being produced however, the amount may be too little or the body may no longer react properly to the insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be linked to an autoimmune disease that destroys the beta cells of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is thought to be linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight, inactive and eating a poor nutritional diet.

Signs of juvenile diabetes type 1

Signs of type 1 juvenile diabetes may come on suddenly and may include:

  • Drowsiness or unusual fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Unusually frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sensations of tingling or numbness in the feet
  • Some children may also experience, a fruity or sweet smell to their breath, heavy or labored breathing and or vision changes.

Because this condition can develop in very young children, even toddlers, it is important for parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of juvenile diabetes. "Education about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes is critical because type 1 can easily be mistaken for more common illnesses, such as the flu" (1).

Signs of juvenile diabetes type 2

Type 2 diabetes can present with many of the same signs as type 1; however, type 2 juvenile diabetes signs and symptoms tend to develop more gradually over time. This can make the warning signs harder to identify.

Signs of juvenile diabetes type 2 include:

  • Lethargy or chronic fatigue
  • Tingling or numbness in the feet
  • Itchy skin
  • Cuts, sores, or bruises that heal slowly
  • Recurring infections such as bladder infections
  • Some children may experience increased thirst, urination or hunger as well as blurred vision

If any of the signs of juvenile diabetes are recognized in a child or teen they should be brought to the attention of your doctor as soon as possible. An early diagnosis of juvenile diabetes can lead to more treatment options. With proper care, a child with diabetes can lead a successful life free of serious health complications.

(1) Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (2010). Warning signs for type 1 diabetes. Retrieved from

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