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Question:

From Illinois, USA:

Our six year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about three months ago; we are all adapting quite well. The more we think about the onset of the disease the more questions we have. The most pressing question is this: We recall our son complaining of blurred ("fuzzy") vision when he was three or four years old, at the time we discounted this. He also complained of frequent headaches. Is it possible these were very early symptoms of diabetes? He has never had a headache or blurred vision since he has been on insulin!

Answer:

At this stage it is only possible to speculate on the earlier symptoms in your son. However they could be related to the diabetes and one explanation might go something like this.

Type 1 Diabetes, as I am sure you know, is a slowly progressive disorder of the immune system. It probably started in the first year of life and since then has been slowly eroding the ability to make insulin until eventually outside supplementation became needed. Before that time however there may have been periods of stress when insulin response was temporarily inadequate or inappropriate. A delay in what is called 'first phase insulin release' in response to a meal might have caused hypoglycemia and thus the headaches. Hyperglycemia might also have occurred and been much more slowly corrected. This could have led to a gradient between the sugar concentration inside the globe of the eye and in the blood. When this happens, and it is quite common in the early treatment of a new onset diabetic, water moves into or out of the globe, changing its shape and at the same time the distance between the lens and the retina, to produce some temporary blurring of vision. This in no way indicates any predilection to eye problems later on.

DO'B

Original posting 20 Mar 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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