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April 25, 2007

Diagnosis and Symptoms

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Question from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA:

My 11-year-old was diagnosed with type 1 at age eight. I am concerned about his seven-year-old brother. His appetite has more than doubled in the past couple weeks and he gets frantic, crying that he is hungry, which is very unusual for him. My elder son did this for several months before he was diagnosed, though we didn’t know to make anything of it at the time. So, I checked my seven-year-old’s fasting blood sugar and it was 107 mg/dl [5.9 mmol/L] on a home meter. At midnight, five plus hours after eating, he has been 126 mg/dl [7.0 mmol/L] and 128 mg/dl [7.1 mmol/L]. Those are the only times I have checked. My blood sugar was in the 80s mg/dl [4.4 to 4.9 mmol/L] each time because I checked myself to be sure meter wasn’t reading high.

Our diabetes nurse said not to worry and to wait and see. Am I unnecessarily worried that this may be the first signs of him being diagnosed with type 1 some months from now or is that a reasonable fear? Should we be doing anything proactive or just wait to see if he starts in with the urination/thirst of full-blown diabetes?

Answer:

From: DTeam Staff

You could ask to have the diabetes antibodies checked to see if there is evidence of risk.

Beyond that, there are no studies for children this young to prevent diabetes. Watch for symptoms. You should diagnose it early before he gets sick, if he were going to get it.

LD

[Editor’s comment: You might want to look into participating in TrialNet, a group of studies looking at the development, prevention and early treatment of type 1 diabetes.

BH]