From Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA:
My son will be 14 soon. He was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 14 months old and has been on a mixture of Regular and NPH insulin ever since. He currently takes 2 shots a day of 70/30 insulin--25 units A.M. and 15 units P.M. His blood sugars are constantly varying. I assumed this was because of puberty, but am now beginning to think that puberty has yet to start for him. He shows no signs of growing and although he was in the 80% bracket of children his age for size 2 years ago, is now in the 10% range. My question is: does diabetes retard the start of puberty? At almost 14, he is very active in sports but is now the smallest one on his teams and it is disheartening to him to see all his friends grow and him stay the same.
Generally speaking - no! You need to ask your paediatrician to plot your son's growth and to show you the charts. Almost certainly he is exhibiting what is known as constitutional delay in growth - basically this means that he is normal and is going to have his growth spurt a bit later than his peers. He will, however, go on growing after they have stopped so his final height will be unaffected. Occasionally, however, patients with diabetes get other problems too such as coeliac disease (poor absorption of food from the gut) or underactive thyroid gland which can affect growth, and these should be checked out.
Original posting 20 Feb 1998
Posted to Puberty
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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