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November 4, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Calhoun, Georgia, USA:

My 16 year old son, who is very active in sports, has all of a sudden been having headaches, and his blood pressure is at or sometimes above 160/84. He has gained about eight pounds in the past two years, he eats all the time, and he is always thirsty. His football trainer suggested having him tested for diabetes. Is this something I should do? If he is diagnosed with diabetes will this stop him from participating in sports? His goal is to play pro football.

Answer:

The recommendation for assessment by a physician is a good one as your son’s symptoms should be investigated further. Be sure to discuss with your son and his healthcare team any supplements that he may be taking as many can raise blood pressure and negatively impact health status in other ways. A proper workup by a physician, including blood testing/screening should provide you with the answers you are looking for.

It is premature to assume that your son has diabetes, however know that athletes with diabetes are found at both professional and amateur levels of nearly every sport imaginable. A diagnosis of diabetes does not mean that dreams can’t be achieved.

DMW