Knowing and spotting the symptoms is vital

Michelle Sproston with son Oliver Sproston (5) who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

Michelle Sproston with son Oliver Sproston (5) who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

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KNOWING your “four Ts” could stop your child becoming seriously ill.

That’s the message to mums and dads from Diabetes UK, after research found a staggering nine out of 10 parents do not know the four main symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

The charity has launched a new campaign to highlight the four Ts – Toilet, Thirsty, Tired, Thinner.

The campaign uses children’s fridge magnets to spell out the four Ts, with the aim of getting people to know the symptoms and understanding a child with them needs to urgently visit a doctor and get tested.

The charity believes a lack of knowledge is one of the reasons a quarter of diabetic children are only diagnosed once they have become seriously ill with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a life-threatening condition which needs immediate specialist hospital treatment.

And Staining mum Michelle Sproston says she feels knowing the symptoms of diabetes helped save her son Oliver’s life.

She was only aware of what to look for after doing first-aid training and became worried after Oliver, then four, was drinking excessive water.

He had also starting going to the toilet a lot, wetting the bed and was tired and hungry all the time.

Michelle said: “For some reason, the constant thirst stuck out. It wasn’t small glasses or water, but huge glasses that didn’t satisfy him.

“He had been showing the signs for a couple of weeks and the weekend before he was diagnosed I mentioned it to family and they could also see it.”

After finding the school had noticed Oliver’s thirst too, Michelle took him to the walk-in centre, where the doctor suspected diabetes and rang the hospital.

Michelle said: “He said how important it was I spotted the signs as there are so many who have gone in terribly poorly, yet Oliver was still walking around normally.

“At the hospital it was confirmed very quickly. Normal blood/glucose levels should be between 4 and 9 mmols. Oliver’s was 48, with ketones of 5.

“Everything was like a whirlwind and our lives have changed forever.

“We are now into our eighth month of living with this dreadful illness. There are still things now which crop up and I don’t have a clue what to do.

“Oliver has coped well but I have fallen to pieces, seeing our beautiful little boy getting his fingers pricked and constant injections on his tiny little body.

“It is a full-time job to control food, exercise and ‘normal’ life.”

For information, visit www.diabetes.org.uk

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