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December 3, 2003

Other Illnesses

Question from Masterton, New Zealand:

My daughter has had type 1 diabetes for 5 years, with good control most of the time, but has been ill for around 6 months, she has Ankylosing Spondylitis and has had Glandular Fever both diagnosed within the last 4 months, but is still ill most of the time. Her symptoms are fatigue, nausea without vomiting, tiredness, muscle pain and generally feeling unwell. Today we saw a new doctor who feels she may have M E (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or Fybromyalgia. I have done a bit of research into this condition and have found that it can be linked with diabetes and Ankylosing Spondylitis but have not found any information on this condition in children, It also doesn't seem to affect her blood sugars dramatically. Is this common in children and how do I help her return to her daily activities? Are there recommended supplements that are suitable for children and diabetics? Your help would be much appreciated.


Such chronic fatigue conditions are rare in children and adolescents but do occur. They are difficult to diagnose and to treat. There are no obvious links to diabetes, however, and no increased incidence as far as I am aware. I would imagine that depression and tiredness would have major interactions with diabetes management. Whatever is going on, blood glucose levels should be the guide to treatment and how to respond with food, activity and/or insulin adjustments would depend upon how one was feeling, activity levels, increased need for insulin, etc. You should work closely with your diabetes team to figure out how to make such adjustments, what may need to change depending upon what medications are used. Some people have had great success with cognitive therapy while others use yoga and other relaxation methods very successfully as well.