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September 11, 2006

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Question from Titusville, New Jersey, USA:

My 11 year old son has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Leading up to this, he had two years of doctors trying to find out why he didn't feel well. He would lose weight and always had trouble with eating. He was checked for Crohn's Disease, celiac, brain tumors, but all were negative. About seven weeks ago, he lost weight and was urinating frequently and drinking a lot of water. We realized what was going on and took him his pediatrician. Since his diagnosis, he has regained all of his weight, and then some, but I am concerned because he has not gotten any taller. From ages five to nine, he was always bigger and taller than all of his peers. Over the last few years, he has dramatically slowed down and is now shorter than almost all of them. Could his diabetes have anything to do with this? Can diabetes cause lack of growth hormone in children?

Answer:

Type 1 diabetes might cause growth retardation only if it has been in bad metabolic control. Otherwise, type 1 diabetic children at diagnosis have been described also to be taller than the controls. Ask your pediatric endocrinologist to evaluate your son’s growth.

MS