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July 5, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from South Dakota, USA:

I have two sons with Type 1 diabetes. Recently in our local paper we saw an article about an 11-year-old girl diagnosed with "a rare form of sudden-onset juvenile diabetes and she died". Is this correct? With our sons, we picked up on the excessive urination, excessive thirst, and weight loss. I find it hard to believe that this could happen. We have been dealing with diabetes for 14 years.

Answer:

Children typically develop diabetes over the course of weeks and months. I’m unaware of a “sudden onset” form of diabetes — although sometimes the recognizable symptoms of diabetes such as excessive thirst, hunger, urination and weight loss creep up quickly and are not noticed. In those cases, diabetes can appear to have had a “sudden onset” as a child can present extremely ill and be at risk for death at the time of diagnosis.

We continue to work to make widely known the typical symptoms of diabetes so families will recognize it prior to a child becoming terribly ill.

MSB