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February 25, 2001

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from North Aurora, Illinois, USA:

My four year old son has type 1 diabetes, and my 18 month old daughter showed signs of hypoglycemia, so I tested her blood sugar which was 73 mg/dl [4.1 mmol/L]. I gave her one and a half carbohydrates for her morning snack and re-tested her 30 minutes later. That reading was 248 mg/dl [13.7 mmol/L]. an hour and a half after lunch. I tested her again, and her reading was 114 mg/dl [6.3 mmol/L]. Is it possible for someone without diabetes to have sugar readings in the 200s mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L]? Should I be concerned about the one reading? Am I being overly concerned since my son has diabetes? Please let me know what is normal, and what I should be looking for.

Answer:

Blood glucose readings over 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L] are definitely abnormal, but you need to be careful that her hands were clean and technique for measuring blood glucoses were appropriate. You should probably recheck blood glucose readings before and about one hour after eating, several times for the next few days, and then discuss this with your son’s diabetes team. Have you had islet cell antibodies or GAD antibody testing done on your daughter? This would also be helpful, as might HLA testing to help determine her risk of also having or getting diabetes. Overall, sibling risk from most family studies is in the neighborhood of 2-5%.

SB