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May 23, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Fargo, North Dakota, USA:

Both my 17 year old daughter and I have diabetes, and my almost nine year old son had an episode of extreme thirst a few days ago. (He drank five glasses of water in about one-half hour.) I checked his blood sugar at 10:00 pm which was 177 mg/dl [9.8 mmol/L], and a fasting blood sugar the next morning was 107 mg/dl [5.9 mmol/L]. I went to school at 9:30 am and checked, (he had just got done playing basketball for 20 minutes), and was 98 mg/dl [5.4 mmol/L]. At suppertime it was 170 mg/dl [9.4 mmol/L], bedtime was 129 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L], and another fasting the nest morning was 94 mg/dl [5.2 mmol/L]. Does my son have diabetes? Do you think I need to take him in?


Your son’s blood glucose numbers are not normal, but certainly not consistently abnormal. You should talk to your child’s endocrinologist and get antibody testing done. Also, certainly keep a close watch with some weights, ketones checks, and keep doing more blood glucose readings since he may be developing diabetes.


[Editor’s comment: While waiting for things to get sorted out, there is one situation that would call for emergency attention: if your son were to develop nausea or vomiting, together with high sugars and ketones, it would be a medical emergency (DKA) that would need immediate medical attention.