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October 10, 2005

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Minnesota, USA:

I have a four year old son. His grandfather has type 2 diabetes and his cousin has type 1. There is no blood relationship between my son and his cousin. Because of these two cases, my father-in-law and mother-in-law are concerned about any diabetic symptoms they see. My son drinks quite a bit. Sometimes he will drink and drink instead of eating at some meals. The frequency of his bathroom trips equals his drinking. He is potty trained except at night. He rarely makes it though the night dry. And, his diaper is usually very full. Since birth, he has leaked through all his diapers at night. At birth, he had low sugar counts and had to take sugar water to regulate them. As for the other normal symptoms of diabetes, he hasn't lost weight, but he does eat a lot; he is always hungry. He'll eat three different breakfasts in the morning. The thing is, these aren't consistent through the day. But, they are consistent when you look at his overall habits. Because of the this, my in-laws think his blood sugar should be tested. We tried to test with my father-in-laws meter, but my son didn't want to, and I didn't want to force it. Should I have my son tested by the doctor? I'm not overly concerned, but I know my in-laws are and they have first hand experience with this. I guess I'm concerned his doctor will think it's just frivolous testing that has no point. I know that we need a solid answer so that any concerns from the family can be laid to rest. What is your opinion? Would a test be warranted or just unnecessary?

Answer:

It wouldn’t hurt to get the opinion of your pediatrician who, next to you, best knows your son’s health and symptoms. There might be two reasons for testing your son: 1) to detect or confirm blood sugar abnormalities and 2) to allay fears or concerns. Either reason is valid. Your pediatrician should evaluate your son’s symptoms with a medical history and physical exam. He or she may be able to allay your concerns without any further testing.

BS