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January 28, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, USA:

My nine year old son old has had type 1 diabetes for four years, and I saw "signs" on my 20 month old son that seemed to be to be symptoms of diabetes. I checked his blood sugar and it was 450 mg/dl [25 mmol/L], so I checked again just to make sure and it was 457 mg/dl [25.4 mmol/L]. At the same time, I checked myself, and I was 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L]. We took him into the doctor, and they stated that his blood sugar was only 75 mg/dl [4.2 mmol/L] which is totally normal I did not want to argue with them, and I was very relieved but I am dumbfounded. A hour and a half had gone by between the 475 mg/dl [25.4 mmol/L] and the 75 mg/dl [4.2 mmol/L] readings. After we got home, I rechecked him, and he was 123 mg/dl [6.8 mmol/L]? The clinic stated that it was the meter's error, but to my knowledge, I have not had any problems with it.


Meter error is a possibility, but usually not to that degree. Another possibility is that your toddler had sugar on his hands from his last meal or juice bottle. If your child is having excessive thirst and excessive urination, I suggest further fact finding. You can use a urine test strips in his diaper, and/or you can do more blood sugar testing. When someone is on the way to getting diabetes the first blood sugar to go up is two hours after eating a full meal. This is called the postprandial blood sugar. It is a good idea to take a morning fasting blood sugar if the postprandial is above 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L].

We learned a lot of information about the natural history of type 1 diabetes in the DPT-1. It is possible that a child could have a high blood sugar that returns to normal within a couple hours when he is on the way to getting diabetes. There can be uneven insulin response in the beginning stages of the disease. These children can even have low blood sugars, and children without diabetes can have occasional hyperglycemia. About 25% of these children may get diabetes later.

If you feel your child still has symptoms, please return to the pediatrician and try again.