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February 14, 2006

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from San Diego, California, USA:

My daughter, who completed an LPN program several years ago, suspected my granddaughter, age four, may be diabetic. She is constantly thirsty, but otherwise of average weight and height. She had a non-fasting blood sugar level of 160 mg/dl [8.9 mmol/L] at 12:30 in the afternoon. There is no family history and my granddaughter is extremely active and not overweight. She drinks nothing but "Propel Fitness Water" and fruit drinks or Kool-Aid. The military hospital is her health care facility and, I must admit, we have had numerous problems with correct diagnoses for the family in the past. Should we consider a private practice physician before going into panic mode? Could an asthma inhalant raise her blood sugar level? Is the non-fasting level of 160 mg/dl [8.9 mmol/L] serious?

Answer:

A blood sugar of 160 mg/dl [8.9 mmol/L] can be abnormal. Your child would benefit from more formal testing for diabetes given her symptoms of excessive thirst. A pediatrician should be able to direct you to appropriate testing. Asthma inhalers (even steroid inhalers) have little effect on blood sugars. See Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes for assistance in interpreting whether a blood sugar is abnormal or not.

MSB