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October 26, 1999

Other Illnesses

Question from Portsmouth, England:

My five year old son has Downs syndrome and has also had diabetes since the age of eight months old. There is no history of diabetes in the family. Do you think that the Downs has something to do with him getting diabetes? I am also trying to find out more information about people that have Downs syndrome and diabetes together, as it dosn't seem to be that common. Also, when my son was found to have diabetes, his blood sugar reading was 150 mmol/l (2,700 mg/dl); is this a record?

Answer:

Autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease and diabetes are commoner in Downs although your son developed diabetes unusually early. Also — not very scientific, I know — but the two or three patients with Downs that I’ve seen also had very high sugars at diagnosis. Nonetheless, 150 mmol/l is pretty high.

KJR