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March 17, 2006

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Paragould, Arkansas, USA:

How do I know that my child has not been misdiagnosed? We went to our local pediatrician who conducted a urine test to check for ketones. Ketones were high and they in turn checked her blood sugar level. The glucose monitor registered HI. Based on this, we were sent to a children's hospital that afternoon. Blood work was performed and her sugar level was 333 mg/dl [18.5 mmol/L]. They began insulin shots that night. I guess I feel as though this happened so fast and here we are, four days later, at home, giving insulin shots three times a day. Could her recent diet have affected these levels?


A confirmed blood sugar over 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L] confirms the diagnosis of diabetes in a child, with very few rare exceptions. Most of the time, a child that is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will have other symptoms also including excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and sometimes excessive hunger.

I appreciate your apprehension about your child’s recent diagnosis of diabetes. You are not alone. It is very normal to doubt that diagnosis as treatment begins so quickly and seems complex after a diagnosis of diabetes. Your diabetes team should be able to help you deal with those questions and the physician that is caring for your child should be able to explain why this diagnosis is confirmed by several of the tests that have been run on your child.

Often parents (and children, too!) are overwhelmed by the diagnosis of diabetes. Your diabetes educator will be able to proceed with your education at a pace that best meets your needs. Make sure to tell them of your concerns.