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November 17, 2008

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from London, United Kingdom:

I have been very worried about my daughter over the past few weeks. She has always had problems from day one but, recently, they have become worse. When she was born she was taken into hospital because she was ill. At first, they thought it was meningitis but ruled that out, then they thought it could be cystic fibrosis. She has had sweat tests done and one result came back borderline (the doctor is confident it’s not and it was a low borderline result). She has had lots of trips to Accident and Emergency (A & E) for not breathing properly (faster or slower than normal). The last time this happened was October last year.

Her weight is steady at the moment and the health visitors are happy with her weight. Recently, she has had a lot of symptoms. They made me think this could be diabetes. She was drinking a lot (on Saturday night, she drank nearly 3 pints of water). It’s not normally this much but not far off. She is urinating a lot, sleeping a lot (sometimes four or five hours a day even if she had a normal night’s sleep), has pins and needles in her feet (could be a cramp, but I’m not sure as she’s too young to explain properly), and a lot of nighttime sweating. Because I was worried about this, I took her to my general practitioner (GP) who did a blood sugar test that came back at 3.4 mmol/L [61 mg/dl], which he told me was quite low but she hasn’t got diabetes.

I spoke to a friend of mine who’s daughter has diabetes and she loaned me a meter and I have been testing her at home myself. I do get normal levels, but I also get high levels, too, normally about an hour or two after eating. She can range from 7.7 mmol/L [139 mg/dl] to 20.5 mmol/L [329 mg/dl] although this is not always the case. Sometimes after eating, her levels can be normal.

I spoke to my doctor about this and he said that I must be doing the test wrong. I have been making sure her hands are clean before testing. He also said that she has behavioural problems, which is why she is drinking a lot and, therefore, urinating a lot. I have never heard anything like this before. My daughter is the most kindest, loving child I have ever known. I have four children and they are not all angels. But, I do not for one second believe this is because she is naughty. Also, she has always had diarrhoea. I know this is not one of the symptoms but thought I should mention it. If this is not diabetes, then what could this be? I am so frustrated right now and need to put an end to all of this. The GP he is refusing to do tests on my daughter and I am not sure what to do next. Any advice would be greatly appreciated


From: DTeam Staff

I doubt it is diabetes…at least not now. Diabetes is a consistent fasting blood sugar over 7.0 mmol/L [126 mg/dl]. If you start seeing lots of these, then go back to the doctor and get morning glucose levels at the laboratory. I have several hundred families with children with diabetes. They worry and test siblings and sometimes get a 15 mmol/L [270 mg/dl], but it doesn’t last. I tell them I cannot explain it. Diabetes is clearly defined and, unless you see the repeated first morning glucose above 7.0 mmol/L [126 mg/dl], it isn’t diabetes.


[Editor’s comment: Although it may not explain the fluctuating blood sugars, you may wish to ask the GP about testing for celiac disease, of which diarrhea is a symptom.