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May 20, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Lubbock, Texas, USA:

My seven year old daughter has most of the signs of diabetes (frequent urination -- often wetting her underwear because she can't get to the bathroom in time, excessive thirst and hunger, extremely dry and itchy skin, fatigue, mood swings) and other symptoms that may or may not be related to diabetes. She sweats a lot, especially in her sleep, even without blankets. Her face is always flushed, red, and hot. She says going to gymnastics is hard, and it hurts. She sleeps a lot and is always tired. However, she has not had any weight loss. At 4 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 67 pounds, she is chunky, and I fear she is on her way to obesity. Her weight gain is about two years in the making. Her grandfather has type 2 diabetes, is obese, has high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diverticulitis, and gout. Her two uncles on the same side are obese and have gout and diverticulitis also. The diet in our home is awful too. She craves carbohydrates and sweets. Could she have diabetes despite her weight gain?

Answer:

I really understand your concern regarding your daughter’s risk, especially with a family history of diabetes. Besides watching for the symptoms of diabetes, I’d have her checked as soon as you can, with a fasting and random serum determination of glucose concentration and a urinalysis. Ask her pediatrician for a referral then to a pediatric endocrinologist.

MS

[Editor’s comment: See What You Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children.

WWQ]