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November 24, 2001

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Houston, Texas, USA:

A friend has a 10 year old with headaches. She was just told by an eye doctor that the child has diabetes in the eyes. Her pediatrician is putting her off till next week to get the results from the eye doctor first. Where can she take her child to get a glucose before then? What is this all about?

Answer:

A 10 year old with headaches needs a comprehensive exam and review of systems. No mention was made if this child was in need of glasses which could be a cause of headaches. The need for glasses is somewhat benign. If the headaches persist further evaluation is necessary to rule out less benign causes.

If diabetes was suspected from the eye findings, this can be confirmed by a fasting plasma glucose test. This test could be done at a health department or any minor emergency office. The results may take a few hours or a day or so depending on the location of the laboratory where the sample will be sent. A quick “estimate” of glucose status and immediate reading could be done in any doctor’s office with a finger stick test, but this would have to be followed with a fasting plasma glucose test to be definitive.

CAG