April 27, 2000
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Question from Jacksonville, Florida, USA:
My son, 11 years old, gained a lot of weight (20 pounds). This has occurred in the past three months. Also during this time he has had an incredible increase in thirst and hunger. Of course with the constant thirst there is the excessive urination. He’s due to go in for blood tests next week. The thought of diabetes has never crossed my mind until the doctor questioned if there is any family history of this disease, which there is. Is it really possible when there is increase of thirst, urination and hunger but not a weight loss?
I think that, as you say, it is improbable that if the diagnosis was diabetes there would be weight gain as well as polyuria [increased urine volume] and polydipsia [increased thirst]. I have a feeling that the doctor is wondering if this really rather substantial recent weight gain is in lean body mass or is perhaps mostly extracellular water which would suggest other diagnoses. Some very simple office tests can exclude diabetes; but the evaluation of other possibilities needs a little more sophistication.