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October 16, 2001

Complications

Question from Shalimar, Florida, USA:

My 13 year old son, who has had diabetes since age two, with A1cs never over 6%, is having aches in the chest and stomach area, lasting about 10 minutes and not always associated with mealtimes. These aches can be brought on by running, quick walking or no movement at all. When his sugars are checked during an episode, they remain within a normal range. Is this the beginning of gastroparesis? Does he need a complete "gastro" workup to rule out other causes?

Answer:

You should talk to your son’s diabetes team to see what they can discover. A long list of possibilities including Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), celiac disease, pernicious anemia, and thyroid problems comes to mind. GERD and ulcer problems are all higher on the list than gastroparesis, but specific testing needs to be carried out to be sure. What your son really needs is a thorough history and physical exam as well as likely lab and x-ray studies.

SB