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October 23, 1999

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Houston, Texas, USA:

I have a 15 year old son who has had very strong breath odor for a couple of weeks. The odor reminds me of 'Super Glue' and is very strong. Yesterday an EMT friend told me that this could possibly be diabetes and that if he came upon someone who was unconscious and had that breath odor he would immediately think of diabetes. Is this a possibility? My son was adopted at birth and we have no indications from his medical history that there was a family history of diabetes.


A very quick urine test will answer the question. I also have to suggest that you consider whether your son could have been sniffing glue. Is it his clothes that smell? Has his behaviour been normal? Do you know what he’s been doing when he’s out?

Additional comments from Dr. Quick:

See the symptoms of diabetes.