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September 1, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA:

A month ago, my niece visited and I noticed that she had a huge appetite. I didn't think much of it at the time. I just thought she was going through a growing spell. However, she visited again yesterday and her eating habits were very enormous. After 2 cans of icing, 3 toasted cheese sandwiches, pretzels, a bag of cereal, a gallon of Kool-Aid (all of which she had started eating after she had just had a huge breakfast ), she fell asleep. She is very skinny. My husband has diabetes, so we thought she ought to be checked. Her blood sugar was 511 mg/dl [28.4 mmol/l] at 8 pm. By 8:30 pm, it was 410 mg/dl [22.7 mmol/l]. We took her to the emergency room and her blood sugar there was 121 mg/dl [6.7 mmol/l]. They did some lab work and it was 99 mg/dl [5.5 mmol/l]. At the hospital, they told her that she did not have diabetes and to watch what she eats. They never ran an Hba1c test. Today all she ate was a bowl of cereal this morning, 2 hot dogs for lunch and a hamburger for dinner and her blood sugar was 122 mg/dl [6.8 mmol/l]. Can a normal person have such high blood sugars or is she going through the honeymoon stage of diabetes?

Answer:

I would promptly discuss these concerns with her pediatrician. There are some inexpensive urine tests and blood tests that need to be done to either confirm or rule out diabetes in this child. I would call and schedule an appointment today.

MSB