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November 2, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Groveland, Massachusetts, USA:

My three year old niece has excessive thirst, clumsiness, seizures. After the last seizure, her sugar level was over 200mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L]. She tends to play quietly by herself and does not engage in very many activities with other children. Her head is not proportioned to her body; it is large. Both of her parents have learning disabilities. The neurologist can't seem to find a reason for the seizures. Is this a form of diabetes?


It would not be appropriate to offer any suggestions in regard to your niece without having a great deal more information about her clinical history and examination. I am sure though that the single blood sugar level of 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L] taken shortly after a seizure does not indicate diabetes. Not every case of seizures can be precisely diagnosed, and for those that are called idiopathic, the emphasis for the time being needs to be on treatment, and later on in making sure that she gets any extra help that may be needed in pre-school.