A North Somerset family is hoping to raise awareness of the symptoms of juvenile diabetes to make sure children are diagnosed in time.

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A MUM from North Somerset is desperately trying to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes after her son was diagnosed with the condition at the age of four.

Louise Bloxham noticed something was wrong with Finlay last July when he had an ‘incredible thirst’ for a few days and began wetting the bed.

Knowing a few symptoms of diabetes, Louise took her soon and a urine sample to the doctors to be tested.

She said: “As soon as he was diagnosed he was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital and put on insulin. Failure to do so leads to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) within hours.

“He was in hospital for three days, it was awful. He was put on a regime of two insulin injections a day which was very traumatic to begin with.

“But by November he was doing his own injections, while supervised. He wanted to take control. He’s been a little star, but I wish I could give him back his carefree childhood.”

Louise now wants to make other parents aware of the symptoms as research has shown the incidence of type one diabetes in children under five has increased fivefold in the past 20 years.

The reason for the increase is unknown, but it has nothing to do with an unhealthy diet which is linked to type two diabetes.

Type one diabetes is an auto immune disease caused by the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

The absence of insulin leads to increased sugar in the blood and urine and symptoms include an increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, weight loss and excessive tiredness.

Louise said: “Everyone knows the symptoms of meningitis but type one diabetes is five times more common and very few people are aware of the symptoms.

“I’ve read about numerous children who end up in DKA in intensive care because parents and doctors haven’t noticed the symptoms.”

Finlay, who attends Flax Bourton Primary School, has at least two insulin injections a day and eight-10 blood tests to check his blood sugar levels.

His parents have to measure the amount of carbohydrates in each meal and Louise has to test Finlay’s blood sugar levels throughout the night in case his blood sugars dip dangerously low.

She said: “Living with diabetes you have the constant worry about hypos and the fears about the devastating long term effects of highs.”

Louise, from Long Ashton, has now set up a North Somerset support group to help people who have children suffering from type one diabetes.

The group meets once a month at the Full Quart in Hewish. Anyone interested in joining can email Louise at louise.bloxham@gmail.com

The Bloxham family is also taking part in a walk to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in September. To sponsor them visit www.justgiving.com/Louise-Bloxham

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