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January 31, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Timmins, Ontario, Canada:

My almost eight year old son has been on Ritalin for almost a year now to help him focus in school, and we've had great success with that! He had asthma and (birth-four years) and has been a bed wetter and daytime wetter since potty training, but multiple tests on his bladder/kidneys have shown no problems. About five months ago, he was weighed and was ordered for some blood work as I questioned his bedwetting again. When we saw the doctor again (four months later), I was told that his fasting glucose level from that blood work was 2.2 mmol/L [39.6 mg/dl] and he had also lost 4 pounds in weight. This was enough of a concern that the doctor ordered more blood work, and the non-fasting blood sugar was 3.1 mmol/L [55.8 mg/dl]. There is a history of diabetes on both sides of the family. The doctor will be calling our local diabetes association and then follow up with me and did say that this is how type 1 diabetes sometimes begins (extremely low levels before the levels sky-rocket). I had never heard of an onset that way before and of course, I'm very worried and concerned for my son. A friend of mine wondered why I hadn't been told of his results sooner and said that low levels that low could be dangerous. Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

This is something that is often talked about but I have never seen, and I see 70 new cases of diabetes a year. However, it is extremely unlikely that your son is developing diabetes. He is obviously being closely observed. Next time they are taking blood, it may be sensible for them to check his ICA 512 and GAD antibodies as this may be helpful in setting your (and their) mind(s) at rest.

KJR