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July 11, 2001

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Evansville, Indiana, USA:

My nine year old son has type�1 diabetes, diagnosed at age four, and his six year old brother has had some high blood sugars (146 to 178 mg/dl [8.1 to 9.9 mmol/L] ), all after a snack or meal, over a period of time. What is the normal range for blood sugars following a meal or snack? I thought a normal functioning pancreas kept blood sugars between 80-120 mg/dl [4.4 -6.7 mmol/L] regardless of when or what you ate.

Answer:

While you are broadly correct, the nature of the meal and other factors will result in some variation and so diagnosis of diabetes may be based on arbitrary values fasting or two hours after a defined carbohydrate intake. The values you quote would not satisfy the criteria and I would discourage you from subjecting your younger child to random blood sugar testing if he remains symptom-free.

KJR