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August 13, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Victoria, Australia:

For approximately eight weeks now, my five year old has been needing to urinate frequently (10 to 14 times a day) and has also started wetting his bed. His appetite has dramatically increased to where he is not only eating almost twice as much during normal meal times he is also needing to eat about every half to one hour. He gets tired and regularly needs to rest/nap towards the end of the day. He has been complaining of stomach pains after eating certain foods and also complains of hurting pains in his legs and arms, mostly in the morning. All the symptoms have increased to the point of being unbearable over the last couple of weeks. I took him to see our family doctor who did an urine test straight away. He said that his urine was relatively normal, but he did send him for a random glucose test and another urine test at the pathology centre and marked on his referral sheet that my son's ketones were up. I've been told the test will take approximately a week. I'm hoping from what I've told you, you might have some suggestions at what we could be looking at. Please note though, my son hasn't been complaining of being extra thirsty.


Your son’s symptoms are a little bit suspicious for diabetes, but there are several possible causes for the symptoms. I am not sure they are related to any blood sugar disorders although I’d check him for autoantibodies first in order to rule out Type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes.

hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can also cause these symptoms and is more likely. Ask your son’s doctor to check his fasting blood sugar level, and if possible, during the symptoms you report.


[Editor’s comment: See symptoms of diabetes and Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes Guidelines.