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September 12, 1999

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from New York, New York, USA:

At 4 days old, my son was diagnosed with "transient diabetes of the newborn". I have not been able to find anyone to explain to me what it is and why it happened. His symptoms included sugar level well over 1500, dehydration, blood in his stool, blood on the brain, weight loss and seizures. Can you please explain why this happened?

Answer:

It sounds like your son has a very complicated story. Transient diabetes of the newborn occurs when the baby is born before the pancreas has completely developed. It is treated with insulin and usually resolves after a few months when the pancreas has more fully developed. I don’t know whether your son developed the other problems as a result of his unrecognized high blood sugars which caused severe dehydration or whether your son had problems with seizures and bleeding into the brain first and then went on to develop severely elevated blood sugars which can happen in very sick dehydrated babies.

I hope your son is now improving and will have a complete recovery.

TGL