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April 22, 2000

Diabetes Insipidus, Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Alberta, Canada:

I am a father of two and four year old girls. My mother has diabetes, and has had for about 20 years or so; she is about 68. There is also diabetes present in my dad's family in old age only. I am concerned about my two year old. Someone told us to look up something called "water diabetes." Not sure if there is even such a thing but thought you or someone you know might know. The reason for the inquiry is the fact that my daughter drinks fluids constantly all day. She due to the fact of the thirst goes to the bathroom an awful lot. Have not noticed a pungent smell from her urine when she goes to the bathroom but the thought is there none the less. My wife and I are not sure if we are looking in the wrong direction or not but we were hoping that you might be able to point us in the right direction.

Answer:

There most common form of diabetes in children is called Type 1 diabetes. The main symptoms are frequent urination, frequent thirst, hunger, and weight loss. If you have noticed a change in your daughter’s urine, I would suggest you discuss this with your pediatrician — there can be other causes to explain the change including urinary tract infection.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: “Water diabetes” usually refers to diabetes insipidus, which is unrelated to Type 1 diabetes.

JSH]