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September 7, 1999

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from :

My grandfather on my mother's side developed Type 2 diabetes when he was an adult and recently I found that my grandmother on my father's side had Type 1. My mother does not have diabetes and I do not know much about my father or his family. I have several symptoms. I can not eat anything high in sugar for example: chocolate, sweettarts, candy, icing, etc. I develop almost instantly bad headaches and sick to my stomach. Other things are numb feelings in my arm, dizzy, blurred vision, very frequently going to the restroom, thirst, wake up with scratchy throat, constipation, and lack of energy. I have been tested for diabetes three times in three years and my doctor says I am fine. He has done the two hour glucose. Asking him why I have these symptoms and the feelings I get when eating certian things high in sugar, he responds "don't eat it then." Which is fine, I won't, but the question is, could I be develpoping diabetes, or is there any other sugar intolerance that I may have? I have read that the fasting glucose has been dropped to 126 from 140, is this true? Also I have heard that people could have symptoms for several years before a test will show positive. Is this true?

Answer:

Only an individual evaluation will tell if you have diabetes and fully evaluate your symptoms. The diagnosis of diabetes would be made based on symptoms, fasting blood sugar (as you noted now lowered to a level of 126 mg/dl), a 2 hour after eating or random blood sugar of over 200 mg/dl. If you have family members with type 2 diabetes then you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing Type 1 diabetes is a bit more complex, but an immediate family member with it would confer a higher risk than the general population. I would get checked for diabetes yearly over the age of 40.

LM