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July 22, 2004

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Texas, USA:

My daughter has had severe headaches, extreme fatigue, and thirst at night. She went to the doctor, who performed several tests, such as a CAT scan, MRI, etc. He ruled out brain tumor, etc. She did have a red flag on her blood work, which had a reading of 50 mg/dl [2.8 mmol/L]. The doctor asked me to bring her back in and she had a fasting reading of 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L]. We have a family history of diabetes. Since her tests were inconclusive, they have me monitoring her blood sugar and have her on a special diet. She has highs about three times a week meaning 280 mg/dl [15.6 mmol/L], 196 mg/dl [10.9 mmol/L], 225 mg/dl [12.5 mmol/L], and 303 mg/dl [16.8 mmol/L]. This is usually about two hours after eating. She has some lows, but they are few and far between now that we are on a strict diet. Is it true that a child without diabetes shouldn't ever get a reading above 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L]? We test finger prick with a One Touch machine. The machine has been tested and coded properly. Do I need to take her to a pediatric endocrinologist? Do you think she needs more tests? Since we have her on a diet her headaches have decreased, too.

Answer:

Blood sugar readings as those you have found in your daughter are not normal at all. I suggest she undergo more tests, such as an oral glucose tolerance test, and check anti-insulin antibodies, islet-cell antibodies, anti-GAD antibodies. The best thing to do is find a pediatric endocrinologist or diabetologist and ask him to check your daughter to verify if it is diabetes or not.

AS