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June 11, 2008

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Birmingham, Alabama, USA:

My daughter has had all the basic symptoms of diabetes for months now and we are getting no help from numerous doctors. She is still complaining about extreme hunger and thirst, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, irritability, and some weight loss. She started out having normal blood sugars, but now her blood sugar is fluctuating from high to low. The lowest she had been was 65 mg/dl [3.6 mmol/L] and the highest 180 mg/dl [10.0 mmol/L]. I know this isn't terribly bad, but I'm still very concerned. Her blood sugar is between 95 mg/dl [5.3 mmol/L] and 110 mg/dl [6.1 mmol/L] fasting and 150 mg/dl [8.3 mmol/L] to 180 mg/dl [10.0 mmol/L] after meals. Should I be concerned about these blood sugar numbers? Can the onset of diabetes come this slow?

Answer:

Your question is a rather frequent question. Please see our previous questions on the Diagnosis and Symptoms of diabetes and for similar questions and read about the Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.

Yes, the child’s symptoms and glucose numbers are a little concerning. But, since you are obviously checking glucose levels, whose meter are you using? Have you been taught to do this the most correct way, including, if necessary, calibrating the glucose meter with the test strips? Have the child’s fingers been clean and dry before checking? Are the values done at least one hour (some say preferably two hours) after a meal? Have you given the glucose values to your pediatric healthcare provider? What have they done? Have they recommended any more testing?

If you feel that your answers to any of the above questions need to be addressed, then you might ask for a referral to a pediatric endocrinologist.

DS