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Question:

From America On-Line:

My son (age 18 and in his last year of High School) has had a drastic personality change over the last few months. He has lost a lot of weight, his face looks red flushed with a white dehydrated look around his mouth and his pupils look constricted and dialated (mostly constricted) a lot. We had him drug tested at the doctor (blood & urine), turned out negative on drugs, and we are going to counseling. My brother had Diabetes Mellitis and died at age 29. My other brother's son recently developed Diabetes Mellitis at age 23 and is on insulin.

Can Type 1 diabetes go undetected and does it also cause mood swings and irrational behavior? A few years ago I took my son to the doctor because he had mood swings and they did a glucose tolerance test. It turned out negative on the diabetes but the doctor put him on a special diet because his blood pressure was high. Had good results with the diet and his blood pressure came back down. Saturday night he mentioned that he is extremely thirsty and he does drink a lot. One of his teachers told me he lays his head down on the desk a lot. Today, the doctor's office told me that his blood sugar level is 40 and should be 70-117. The doctor said he probably has hypoglycemia. That he will probably need to go on a special diet and that it could develop into Type 1 Diabetes with my family history. How big is the chance this could happen? My son said he doesn't care even if he dies and refuses to go back to the doctor. We are at the end of our rope here.

Answer:

If your son is losing weight and has high blood pressure he needs further evaluation. It does not sound like he has diabetes from what you describe. Meters aren't accurate enough to diagnose low blood sugar. A blood sugar has to be sent to a laboratory and properly processed when your son is having symptoms to diagnose low blood sugar.

One thought to explore with your son's doctor is to rule out pheochromocytoma which can have the symptoms you describe and high blood pressure. A first morning urine or 24 hour urine sent with a special preservative can diagnose this. This is very important to rule out as patients with this disorder can develop life threatening high blood pressure if given certain blood pressure medications or put under anaesthesia.

TGL

Original posting 10 Nov 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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