Children with diabetes often have second ailment

By Tom Nordlie • Published: September 1st, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

“Your child has diabetes.”

No parent wants to hear those words from a doctor.

But each year, the parents of about twenty-one- thousand U-S children hear exactly that.

What’s worse, sometimes a second piece of bad news follows… the child has diabetic ketoacidosis [kee-tow-ass-ih-DOUGH-siss].

That’s a toxic build-up of acids in the blood caused by diabetes.

It can lead to diabetic coma or even death.

A study published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics showed that twenty-five percent of young diabetes patients had ketoacidosis when they were diagnosed.

Researchers examined data from a nationwide study involving more than twenty-eight-hundred patients, ranging from infants to nineteen-year-olds.

Ketoacidosis was most common in children ages four and under. For this group, the rate was thirty-seven percent.

It was less common in those diagnosed later. In patients ages fifteen to nineteen, the rate was fifteen percent.

Gender and race had little effect on the prevalence of ketoacidosis. But it was more likely to be found in children from lower-income homes.

Fortunately, the condition can be managed with proper care.

Children or their parents can monitor acid levels with a simple urine test. If they get too high, prompt medical treatment can resolve things.

The real danger occurs when children have undiagnosed diabetes.

To that we say: Parents, learn the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

Then, maybe one day your child’s doctor will say something you’ll appreciate…

“We caught this just in time.”