WHEN Hayley Smith’s three-year-old son Jacob began drinking more and more water, she just put it down to him being thirsty.
But after he started having breathing difficulties, a mother’s instinct told Hayley she needed to take him for a check-up at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
It was there that doctors told Hayley her son had developed type 1 diabetes, which is caused when the body stops producing insulin. Jacob now has four insulin injections a day and daily finger prick tests to monitor his blood sugar levels. He will need to keep up a healthy diet and have regular blood tests.
Now Mrs Smith, of Oracle Drive, Crookhorn, is warning others to watch out for the symptoms.
She said: ‘There was no history of the condition in the family so I was completely stunned.
‘We decided to take him into hospital because his breathing had become erratic.
‘Before that he had began drinking so much water. It was cup after cup.
‘I didn’t know whether he would be able to cope with having diabetes.
‘But he’s done so well. He can’t eat what he wants now but he knows that. He still gets to eat a bit of chocolate, but not much.
‘He asks for his injections every day.
‘Parents should definitely get their children to the doctors if they begin developing the symptoms.’
Signs to look out for include excessive thirst, tiredness, weight loss, cramping, blurred vision, skin infections and constipation, according to the NHS Choices website.
Figures from the Association of Public Health Observatories revealed there were 6,156 registered diabetics in Havant, 4,638 in Fareham and 3,719 in Gosport last year.
Portsmouth had the highest number with 8,122 registered diabetics. Around 85 to 95 per cent of these people had type 2 diabetes – which can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. But type 1 diabetes is mainly diagnosed in childhood.
To find out more visit diabetes.org.uk