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November 21, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Simpson, Pennsylvania, USA:

My 10 year old was diagnosed about eight months ago, so I check my other two children once in a while, and my 13 month old had a blood sugar of 177 mg/dl [9.8 mmol/L]. I thought I may not have cleaned his hands well, so I did, and again it was 176 mg/dl [9.8 mmol/L].His doctor did blood work and the fasting blood sugar was 90 mg/dl [5 mmol/L].The doctor said he will test him again in the future but to watch for signs of diabetes. What would make his blood sugar be this high? What is the blood test called to see if you will have diabetes in the future?

Answer:

Your son’s fasting blood glucose was normal. He has not, as I understand, had an oral glucose tolerance test where he is given a glucose drink with before and after blood testing. However, on the basis of this story with no history of symptoms, I would not perform any more tests.

Very specifically, I would not countenance testing of antibodies because there are no interventions that could prevent diabetes so knowing that it was likely would simply be more worrying. The situation will, of course, change if your young son developssymptoms of diabetes.

KJR