Type 1 Diabetes: 4 False Diagnoses

“Failure to thrive” may mean a little bit more.


Type 1 diabetes is unique, in that it is not tied to excess weight but is often indicated by a sudden or unexpected drop in weight. Because Type 1 is more common in children than adults, the symptoms of Type 1 are often mistaken for something else entirely, and Type 1 is allowed to go on unimpeded.

Type 1 in children is difficult to catch. Because it can come on suddenly, without warning, doctors often suspect more common childhood issues rather than leaping to Type 1 as the culprit of a child’s illness.

False Diagnoses

Although these simili-type 1 conditions occasionally lead to the eventual diagnosis of diabetes, you may need to dig deeper and do some additional investigating if your child is diagnosed with any of the following.

#1. Failure to Thrive

Failure to thrive is a broad term applied to a baby or child whose weight, height, and head circumference fall drastically below average. It is usually applied to babies but can also pertain to toddlers and is attributed to inappropriate or insufficient diet.

Failure to thrive can  be associated with Type 1 diabetes because the body stops processing food properly and weight loss occurs. If your toddler has been diagnosed with this condition despite a robust diet, talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of diabetes.

#2. Depression

Depression in children is, sadly, not terribly uncommon. Although there are many reasons for mood disorders in children, Type 1 diabetes can have a profound effect on a child’s overall mood and temperament. Blood sugar highs and lows can cause a rollercoaster effect on a child’s emotions, leading to emotional outbursts one moment, followed by times of relative peace.

If your child is experiencing severe mood concerns, it may warrant an investigation with your pediatrician.

#3. Intestinal Upset

Everything from the flu to an intestinal parasite can fall under the purview of “intestinal upset.” Children with long-lasting stomach trouble could be suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The condition causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if it is left unchecked for too long and can look remarkably similar to a severe cause of the flu.

#4. Bladder Infection

Bladder infections can be common side effects of untreated Type 1 diabetes. Because yeast feeds on sugar, high blood sugar levels can cause a spike in yeast levels, leading to yeast overgrowth in the body. As a result, this issue can culminate in yeast and bladder infections. If your child has recurring yeast or bladder infections, a call to your doctor may be in order.

Type 1 diabetes can masquerade as a host of other conditions. Careful observation and time are both needed to properly diagnose Type 1 diabetes in children, as many Type 1 symptoms mimic other conditions.


Kids’ Health. Accessed 6/1/17.
Healthline. Accessed 6/1/17.

Corrina Horne-Castro is a freelance writer, as well as a yoga instructor, wife, and mother, with a passion for helping others achieve optimal health and wellness.