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July 9, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Douglas, Georgia, USA:

During a recent kidney infection, my 13 year old son had sugar in his urine and a blood sugar of 162 mg/dl [9 mmol/L]. The doctor is doing tests to see why. Diabetes runs on both sides of our family, and we also have a family history of polycystic kidney disease. Do I need to worry? Would polycystic kidney disease cause diabetes?

Answer:

It is possible that the actual kidney infection allowed glucose sugar to “leak” into the urine. Generally, glucose does not leak into the urine until the blood glucose is about 180 mg/dl [10 mmol/L] or more. The stress of a serious infection, being ill, being in the hospital can all cause the blood glucose to go up and does not necessarily equate with your son having diabetes. So the blood glucose value of 162 mg/dl [9 mmol/L] is not normal, but a random level in this scenario does not mean that he has diabetes. It does mean that the doctors have to exclude diabetes. I imagine that your son’s doctor will want to obtain a fasting blood glucose from a venipuncture (not just a “fingerstick”) in order to be most accurate. They may also want to obtain another sample after breakfast that same day.

Polycystic kidney disease does not cause diabetes.

DS