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May 5, 2000

Daily Care

Question from Orlando, Florida, USA:

My three-and-a-half year old son weighs about 28 pounds and is the 5th percentile for height and weight. He had dropped below the 5th percentile on his 3 year old checkup, but is now back in the 5th percentile range. (He dropped from the 25th percentile after his 2nd year checkup.) He has not been specifically tested for growth hormone deficiency due to his age. He also has asthma (which seems to be seasonal), and is well controlled now. He uses Albuterol inhaler occasionally. He is constantly asking for snacks, eats well, but does not gain any weight. Is there any correlation between diabetes and failure to grow at a "normal" rate? Or can diabetes slowly develop over time, which can cause the growth delay? Any insight would be appreciated.

Answer:

It is difficult to assess his growth without taking a detailed look at his growth curve. The typical symptoms of diabetes in children include frequent thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, and weight loss. These symptoms can start slowly and frequently progress over just a few weeks or months. Most growth problems with diabetes happen in later childhood — not necessarily prior to the diagnosis of diabetes.

MSB