Julian Spencer is like most boys his age. The nine year old from Naples has boundless energy.
“I play baseball and football and I want to play basketball,” says Julian.
But there is something that threatened Julian’s wellbeing.
“It says my name and the Type 1 diabetes and the medical stuff I use,” says Julian.
About two years ago, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“He was using the bathroom a lot; he was consuming tons of water. So we immediately made an appointment at the doctors and he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” says Chris Spencer, Julian’s dad.
Symptoms often come on slowly- so parents may not notice until their child is in crisis. Dr. Cayce Jehaimi is with Golisano Children’s Hospital and is Julian’s specialist.
“The classic presentation, the child is so dehydrated that they have to go to the ICU to receive fluid therapy and IV insulin,” says Dr. Cayce Jehaimi, pediatric endocrinologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, because it often appears in childhood. An autoimmune disease, people either don’t make or don’t properly utilize insulin. That’s the hormone the body uses to turn sugar into fuel.
“Over time that coincides with a gradual increase of blood sugar level and that's when you expect the child to become symptomatic. Drinking a lot, peeing a lot, loss of weight despite an increase in appetite and tiredness,” says Dr. Jehaimi.
With the proper diagnosis and treatment, Julian quickly bounced back.
“We didn’t realize how much weight he had lost. He had dark circles under his eyes, we didn't really notice, but once he got healthier you could see the glow come back. The irritability from the high blood sugar was now obvious,” says Jennifer Spencer, Julian’s mom.
Based on simple symptoms, many doctors are now able to diagnose diabetes in the office through glucose testing. Provided parents pick up the clues.
“We started thinking back to prior weeks and realizing there were signs, but we didn’t know what to look for,” says Jennifer.