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August 16, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Australia:

My five month old baby's father has type 2 diabetes. Can small babies have diabetes? If so, what would the symptoms be? I have made an appointment to see a doctor but would like to know beforehand if diabetes is at all possible at his age.

Answer:

Small babies can indeed have diabetes, and there seem to be two types:

First of all, there is a transient one in which there may be a genetic abnormality on the long arm of chromosome 6. This condition is usually resolved in the first six months of life.

Permanent diabetes in the first year of life can also occur and may be linked to a number of other abnormalities both of the pancreas and other organs. Very rarely indeed, diabetes at this age may be due to autoimmunity as in type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes.

I hope that this information reaches you in time and that your baby does not have diabetes. Certainly, type 2 in the father would not suggest it.

DOB