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January 25, 2010

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Kansas City, Kansas, USA:

The doctor called to say my eight-year-old has “early stage diabetes.” What does this mean? What does the future hold?


From: DTeam Staff

Without more specific information about your son, including his symptoms and specific laboratory measurements, I cannot tell you exactly what your eight-year-old’s doctor meant by “early stage diabetes,” which is probably an unfortunate choice of words by your child’s doctor. This has several interpretations, depending on your child’s clinical presentation (signs and symptoms and laboratory results). Offhand, I think the two most common interpretations would include:

your child HAS been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus but it has been discovered/diagnosed early in the course before a more fulminant presentation or clinical deterioration has occured

your child does NOT YET have diabetes mellitus, but has some findings (clinical and/or laboratory) that place him at higher risk for the full development of diabetes.

It will be helpful and important for you to have a dedicated conversation with your child’s physician to clarify matters. It may also be helpful for you to review our web site pages on What is Type 1 diabetes?, Type 2 Diabetes and the Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.

The city that you are from has two medical schools (one on either side of State Line road), and a renowned Children’s Hospital that has clinics and hospitals around the metroplex, including both sides of State Line road. All have pediatric diabetes specialists (pediatric endocrinologists and nurses) to assist you, your doctor, and your son regarding the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.

I wish I could help more, but without specifics, I can only provide broad answers.