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April 7, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Plymouth, Pennsylvania, USA:

If a child is admitted to the hospital with high sugar levels and DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis], is it standard practice to identify whether the child has type 1 or type 2 diabetes? If so, what tests are done at time of admission? What factors would definitively identify the child as having either type 1 or type 2? Is judgment made simply on the physical symptoms present at the time of admission (age, sugar levels, etc.)?

Answer:

Other tests are not always indicated. Depending on the history and physical examination, the age of the child and family history, frequently a definitive diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be made. Other tests are helpful when the definitive diagnosis is in question.

MSB