Call for a million people to get Type 1 aware

Thursday 14 June 2012

People are being urged to take five minutes from their busy lives to make themselves aware of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes – and help prevent the trauma of late diagnosis – by watching a new online video.

Diabetes UK and JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes charity, have today launched a video featuring children living with Type 1 diabetes and showing the most common symptoms of the condition. About 2,000 children a year are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and a quarter of these are only diagnosed when they are hospitalised.

Why does this happen?

The severe lack of insulin within the body upsets the body’s normal chemical balance and causes ketones to be produced. These are poisonous chemicals which, if left unchecked, and combined with high blood glucose levels, can result in serious illness, and even coma and death. This is known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Although there is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes, early diagnosis can prevent emergency hospitalisation. This is why, during Diabetes Week, the two charities have produced the new video to raise awareness among parents, carers, teachers and healthcare professionals that symptoms of the condition include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness.

One million views

By aiming to get one million people to watch the video before World Diabetes Day in November, we hope to raise awareness of the symptoms of the condition. If people know the symptoms then they are much more likely to be diagnosed before they reach life threatening DKA and so reduce their chances of becoming seriously ill.


Karen Addington, Chief Executive, JDRF, said, "If a child is showing any of these symptoms, it’s vital that they get medical attention immediately: even waiting 24 hours can be dangerous. A simple finger prick blood glucose test can diagnose Type 1 diabetes instantly; early diagnosis can prevent a child from becoming very ill, and even save their life."

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, "A late diagnosis is not only incredibly frightening for both parents and children, but it is also very dangerous. This is why we want one million people to watch the film and become Type 1 aware so that children with Type 1 can get diagnosed before they reach this point.

"The fact that a quarter of children only find out they have Type 1 diabetes when they are already seriously ill shows that things urgently need to improve and that is why we want as many people who work with or care for children as possible to see this video."

Spot the symptoms early

Jacqui Double, mother of two boys with Type 1 diabetes, said, "When my son Tom was diagnosed, he was in a coma, had brain swelling and was close to death. He’d been ill for several weeks, but I didn't know the symptoms well enough to insist his doctors test for Type 1 diabetes.

"Five years later, I spotted the early symptoms of Type 1 in his older brother, Joe. I took him straight to hospital and he was diagnosed very early, before DKA set in. When Tom was diagnosed he was in a coma; when Joe was diagnosed he was well enough to go camping. I cannot stress enough how important it is that Type 1 diabetes is caught early. I don’t want another parent to face the same fear of losing their child."

Please share our video

Once you've watched the video, please share it with your friends and family to help us reach as many people as possible. You can use the Twitter and Facebook share buttons below make it easier.