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March 23, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from North Dakota, USA:

I have a 12 year old daughter I am very concerned about. About six months ago she started having times where, if she ate anything with sugar, she would become very pale and tired. I have a niece that, after hitting puberty, was diagnosed with diabetes. She went through all sorts of test and the doctors never found anything wrong. In our family we have not had any cases of juvenile diabetes and I have never heard of MODY until today but stage II diabetes is there. We live in a very small town and the doctors don't want to test my daughter because there is no history to back up what I see. About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with borderline stage II and I was sick for over a year before they found it. My daughter has much of the same symptoms I had. When MODY sets on, does it come on slowly? What should I be watching for? What kind of test should I ask the doctors to run?


I suspect that your daughter does not have diabetes, but that you have become anxious about the possibility. All that is needed is to do two very simple tests: a fasting blood sugar and a test for glucose in the urine. I would be surprised if the doctor refused to do these because dipstick urine testing for glucose, protein, etc. is a routine part of any visit to the doctor. A blood sugar is a minimally expensive and if necessary you could perhaps use your niece’s meter. In cases of Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young) the onset is usually gradual and likewise there is usually a clear family history; but again the diagnosis of ‘diabetes’ has to be made on the basis of a raised fasting blood sugar, usually with glucose in the urine.