According to the National Sleep Foundation, it's estimated that 10% of the children in the United States regularly wet their beds. While children under the age of 5 are more likely to wet their beds, particularly those who are potty-training, sometimes sudden and ongoing bedwetting is one of the first signs of juvenile diabetes, which is also known as Type 1 diabetes.. If you have a child who regularly wets their bed, it is important for you to take your child to a pediatrician for blood sugar testing. Here's what you need to know.
Why is bedwetting a sign of type 1 diabetes?
When someone has type 1 diabetes, their pancreas is attacked by their immune system and, therefore, their pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is what converts glucose (sugar) into fuel for the body, which allows the body's cells to absorb the fuel. Without insulin, the sugars build up and can damage tissues and organs throughout the body.
When the sugar levels are high in the body, the body tries to flush out the sugars through urinating. In order for the body to produce more urine to do this, someone with type 1 diabetes can have unquenchable thirst even when drinking fluids consistently. This all can easily lead to incontinence and bedwetting. Your child's body can produce so much urine in attempting to flush out the excess sugars, that they can become dehydrated, which can also lead to more thirst and, therefore, more bedwetting.
What testing can be done for diagnosis of type 1 diabetes?
During the visit with the pediatrician, your child will likely be asked to pee in a cup. If sugar is found in their urine, it's a telltale sign of type 1 diabetes because sugar is not normally found in urine. Your child would then be given a random blood sugar test or a fasting blood sugar test. The random test can be given at any time, regardless of when your child ate last.
The fasting test, however, is usually given first thing in the morning before any food or drink is given, which allows for the minimum of eight hours of fasting that is necessary for correct test results. After the blood is taken for the fasting test, your child will be given a sugary drink and their blood sugar levels will be remeasured several times over a period of a few hours.