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May 17, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Alvin, Texas, USA:

My seven month old daughter is beginning to have seizure-like episodes, is sleeping all the time, and her father has had type 1 diabetes since the age of 11. They told us there was only a small (6%) chance of passing the diabetes on to her. I don't know the symptoms of diabetes so I would like to know if this is a common early symptom.

Answer:

You’re very right — the chance of your daughter getting diabetes because her father has it is roughly 6%. Given this low figure, blood sugar levels can identify clinical diabetes at any age even there are no early symptoms. The only way to pinpoint the disease early would be to screen her once for genetic susceptibility, and, if she is found positive to check her periodically for antibodies hoping that in the meanwhile researchers will be able to find a valid intervention approach that will halt the process leading to clinical disease, even though clinical trials are still ongoing and pending final results, so far, we don’t have any established approach to prevent the disease.

MS

[Editor’s comment: What you describe are not symptoms of diabetes, but are of concern in a seven month old. Please have her evaluated by her pediatrician.

SS]