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Significant increase in parents’ awareness of Type 1 diabetes symptoms


The proportion of parents who know the four main symptoms of Type 1 diabetes has increased by over 50 per cent over the last year, according to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK.

The survey of 925 parents, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that awareness of all four symptoms is now 14 per cent, compared to nine per cent a year ago.

Raising awareness of the 4 Ts

This follows Diabetes UK’s campaign to raise awareness of the 4 Ts of Type 1 diabetes symptoms – toilet, tired, thirsty and thinner.

The campaign was launched last November to try to reduce the high proportion of children with Type 1 diabetes who become seriously ill because they are not diagnosed quickly enough. It is thought that this happens in about a quarter of cases and this is often because parents do not associate their child’s symptoms with Type 1 diabetes.

But while Diabetes UK has welcomed the increase in awareness, it is concerned that most parents still do not know the four symptoms.

Best known symptom is tiredness

Of the individual symptoms, the best known is tiredness, which 63 per cent of parents in the survey identified as a symptom. The least well-known was weight loss, which just 30 per cent were aware of. Awareness of excessive thirst was 61 per cent and awareness of the need to urinate was 42 per cent.

"Making parents aware of symptoms"

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “In too many cases, children with Type 1 diabetes are not diagnosed until they are seriously ill and in a few tragic cases this delay in diagnosis can even be fatal.

“This does not have to happen. By making parents aware of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, we can help make sure children have the best possible chance of being diagnosed quickly. This is why it is good news that parents are now more aware of the 4 Ts of Type 1 diabetes than they were a year ago.

Straight to GP

“But there is still a long way to go, as parents who are aware of all four symptoms are still the exception rather than the rule. Because children with Type 1 diabetes might have just one or two of the symptoms, it is important that parents know them all and also understand that if their child has any of them then they should take them straight to the GP.

“Also, we still hear of cases of GPs prescribing antibiotics or telling parents to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. But because children with Type 1 diabetes can become very seriously ill very quickly, it is really important that parents have the confidence to politely insist that their child gets a test for Type 1 diabetes right there and then.”

For more information on the 4 Ts campaign, go

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