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My neighbor is concerned that her child may have diabetes (it runs on her side of the family). The individual is a boy of 8 years. He urineates very frequently, is often thirsty, and has periodic complaints that his stomach hurts. He is also often sluggish. As a business professor I volunteered to use my Internet acess to get her some info on the topic. I'm out of my area of expertise. For some reason she wants to know the specific symptoms before she takes him to the doctor for a check-up.

The symptoms you describe are among the "classic" symptoms of diabetes, which include:

  • excessive thirst,
  • frequent urination, especially bedwetting in a previously continent child,
  • weight loss despite a good appetite,
  • blurry vision,
  • fatigue,
  • and other possible symptoms.

Since diabetes "runs" in her family, the chances for diabetes occurring are somewhat higher than usual, and testing should definitely be done. And when the child is checked by a physician, the mom should mention that there's a family history!

If someone in the family has a meter, they can check the blood sugar level for less than a buck. A fasting level greater than 140 and/or two random above 200 mg/dl are very worrisome, and in that case, the child should be seen by a physician the same day.

If there's no meter, the doctor should do a finger-stick blood test to measure blood sugar level. All of this takes about two minutes. Urine tests in the doc's office might be done, but we prefer to get the blood level, since it's much more reliable.

By the way, kids with a similar story are frequently evaluated and no evidence of diabetes found. But, you gotta look for it!

PS: There's a somewhat different situation discussed in another question; please note that the family history and the symptoms are different in that case.

Original posting 18 Jan 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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