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May 15, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Philadelphia, Mississippi, USA:

My three year old son had 4+ sugar in his urine, and the finger prick blood sugar was 185 mg/dl [10.3 mmol/L]. I was told yesterday that he has diabetes, and our regular doctor is not comfortable treating diabetes in such a young child. The pediatricians in this area will not see him until after he is evaluated by an endocrinologist which could take up to six weeks. I know nothing about diabetes and was given only a diet sheet. Can diabetes suddenly show up like this, with no warning? How will I know his blood sugar levels from now until he gets in to see the endocrinologist? Is he in danger?

Answer:

Your son needs to be seen by a physician who is comfortable treating diabetes quickly. I would suggest reviewing this with your physician who should be able to arrange for a more timely evaluation. Your son can be in critical danger quickly without adequate treatment.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: There’s the possibility of a complication called DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] that is life-threatening, and hence the rush to have your son seen urgently.

Note: If he has vomiting or nausea and can’t take fluids for any reason, it’s a medical emergency and he should be taken to an emergency room for IV fluids at any time of the day or night!

WWQ]