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November 26, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Rockford, Illinois, USA:

My nine year old son, diagnosed with type�1 diabetes 13 months ago, had lost about seven pounds prior to diagnosis and maintained that weight, but during the last four to fiver months he has lost three pounds, even though his growth is normal. His endocrinologist was concerned with the weight loss and my son's complaint of stomachaches so he ordered several blood tests which were all normal except for a low white blood cell count.. They have repeated the test, and we should know results in a few days, but in the meantime should this cause us concern? Are there any autoimmune related illnesses with a low WBC? I might add that his diabetes is in good control.

Answer:

I’d check for celiac syndrome with an antibody test called transglutaminase antibody which is more sensitive than previous gliadin and endomyseal testing. Also check for adrenal insufficiency and inflammatory bowel disease as well as thyroid functions to be sure that these are not the cause. A detailed physical exam and history should pinpoint the cause of the weight loss if glucose control is not the cause.

SB