THE Spinnaker Tower will turn blue today to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes because it is World Diabetes Day.
The move comes as figures are released which show that nine out of 10 parents do not know the four main symptoms of the condition, according to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK.
Just nine per cent of the 1,170 parents who took part in the IPSOS Mori survey were able to correctly identify that frequently urinating, excessive thirst, extreme tiredness, and unexplained weight loss are all symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
In a campaign to raise awareness of these symptoms, the charity has labelled them the 4Ts – toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner.
Rachel Cole, from Gosport, was shocked when her daughter Emily was rushed to hospital as a baby 14 years ago, after having a life-threatening attack.
She said: ‘It happened one weekend. Emily was asleep all the time. Every time she woke up she was sick and then she went back to sleep – it was like that the whole weekend.
‘Then on the Tuesday I managed to get her an appointment at the doctors for an ear infection she had. When we took her to the doctors, the doctor noticed she was dehydrated so she sent us to the old St Mary’s Hospital to be rehydrated.
‘As soon as we got there they went completely crazy and realised she was actually diabetic.’
A quarter of children with type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed once they are already seriously ill with one of these attacks, called a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
DKA is life-threatening condition and needs emergency specialist treatment in hospital.
And in a bid to stop children reaching this stage, Diabetes UK is urging parents to learn to spot the 4Ts,
Rachel added: ‘Emily had all of these 4Ts but it wasn’t until we got to the hospital that she was diagnosed as a diabetic. They managed to get her out of the coma and then the questions came.
‘They asked “Did we spot that she was going to the toilet more?”, yes we did. And they asked “Did we spot that she was thirsty more?”, well actually yes we did.
‘All of the 4Ts stood out to us once we knew about them.’
Any parent who notices these symptoms in their child is advised to get them tested for type 1 diabetes straight away. For more information see diabetes.org.uk