PARENTS are being urged to look out for the signs of diabetes after a review showed high numbers of children are being taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with dangerously low insulin levels.

Health chiefs said the rate of ‘previously well’ children attending hospital in diabetic ketoacidosis is two-and-a-half times higher in East Lancashire than nationally, and that many more people need to be aware of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

East Lancashire Hospital NHS Trust wants parents, and children, to watch out for early signs of the condition, which are thirst, passing lots of urine and losing weight, and not to leave it too late to go to their GP.

Chris Gardner, consultant paediatrician, said: “We are really concerned that people in East Lancashire may not be aware of diabetic ketoacidosis – which is a life-threatening presentation of diabetes in children, and that is why we have such a high rate locally.

“We are working with our local health partners, but want to get the message out more widely. If people are diagnosed early, then we can really help. Children and young people who are developing type 1 diabetes can be started on insulin treatment which will prevent progression to ketoacidosis if early symptoms are spotted.

“Once patients have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, there is lots of help and support available.

“The trust has the largest service of the district general hospitals in the region, and has a wealth of information and resources to help.”

The warning came as new research revealed the number of adults in England with ‘borderline’ type 2 diabetes has tripled in the last eight years, bringing the total to more than a third of the population.