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May 3, 2007

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Poland, Maine, USA:

My almost eight-year-old daughter has been experiencing dizziness, nausea, not gaining weight well (3 pounds in almost a year; she weighs all of 49 pounds), crankiness, and drinking a lot since having a bad case of strep and having her tonsils out. At first, we were thinking low blood sugars, but when we started to test her blood sugars, we noticed she was having some high readings. Her highest has been 180 mg/dl [10.0 mmol/L]. Her lowest has been 74 mg/dl [4.1 mmol/L]. It doesn't appear to be sugar related, because she can eat healthy food and her blood sugars go up. I have been told it is not normal for her sugars to be that high, but nothing about which to be overly concerned. We do have a very strong family history of diabetes and my daughter has a congenital heart defect. She seemed to feel better after the initial onset of symptoms, but for the last couple of weeks, the symptoms are back. Furthermore, she was recently sick with a virus before the symptoms started again. No one is telling me why her sugars are up; they just say not to be concerned about it. Should I be concerned? Could she be pre-diabetic?

Answer:

A normal blood sugar is typically 65 mg/dl [3.6 mmol/L] to 110 mg/dl [6.1 mmol/L]. Occasionally, after meals, blood sugars can rise a bit above that. Blood sugars over 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L] are clearly abnormal and require some closer monitoring. I would recommend that you speak with your pediatrician about the best way to do any necessary follow-up testing.

MSB