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May 26, 2001

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Dallas, Texas, USA:

I've recently noticed that my two year old drinks water all day long and has been complaining that her vaginal area is hot. She has had yeast infections before. I have insulin dependent diabetes and have a strong family history. Should we have her tested for diabetes -- if so, what is the process? Is it blood work or some other procedure?

Answer:

Any child who has the typical symptoms of diabetes including excessive thirst and hunger, frequent urination and weight loss, especially with a family history of diabetes, should be tested.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: Testing for diabetes should include blood sugar levels performed by a medical laboratory. The timing of the sample (fasting, random, or postprandial) would influence how high a level is considered abnormal. See Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes for further information.

Occasionally, lab blood sugar testing might be normal in an early case of diabetes, repeat blood sugar testing at the same or a different time, or performing a glucose tolerance test, might be appropriate if there is a high suspicion of diabetes despite normal initial testing. Another test, the glycosylated hemoglobin, might be used to help confirm a suspected diagnosis of diabetes, but the GHB (also called HbA1c or A1c) is not usually considered as appropriate to make an initial diagnosis. Antibody testing is occasionally done as a screening test in high-risk situations, or as confirmatory of type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes, but is not part of routine testing.

Urine sugar tests or home glucose testing, if done, might be positive, which would make the situation more urgent to get lab testing done to confirm the abnormal results. However, urine or home glucose testing, if negative, would not exclude diabetes.

WWQ]