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From Great Bend, Kansas, USA:

My niece is 11 years old and recently became ill with a sustained fever, sluggishness, malaise and was diagnosed with bronchitis. It was later determined after a further decline in function and a trip to ICU that she is suffering from Type 1 diabetes. She is still in acidosis and has gone from a very high blood sugar level to now a low level and it appears that the sugars are not controlled. Is her life in jeopardy now? Is there a chance that this will resolve or will she have Type 1 her whole life? Is there a chance that this will not be true? We are devastated.


I hope by the time you read this, your niece will be feeling much better, out of the ICU, and at home. If your niece was admitted to the ICU, she probably was in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a very serious condition which occurs when blood sugars are dangerously out of control with ketones in the urine and blood. This condition can come on rapidly when someone is unaware they are developing diabetes, especially if they develop a virus or bacterial infection. Although extremely dangerous for the first 24 hours until the condition is controlled, once the ketones are cleared from the blood and urine, the immediate danger is over and the challenge becomes to establish a treatment regimen where the insulin, food, and exercise are balanced to maintain reasonable control of the blood sugars. This stabilization period may take several days to several weeks. During this time, it is not unexpected to have wide variations in blood sugars. As her bronchitis is treated, her insulin requirements may decrease. Although this adjustment period can be very frustrating, it is usually not "life threatening."

Although research is ongoing to find a cure and or prevention for insulin dependent diabetes, at the present time there is no cure and this is a lifelong condition. With proper treatment, however, your niece should be able to lead a very full, active, life, especially with the help and care of relatives like yourself. Perhaps your niece and her parents will be interested in learning from others on Children with Diabetes or through local diabetes organizations like the American Diabetes Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. There are also many excellent camps for children with diabetes across the country where children can learn about diabetes, meet other children and adults with diabetes, and just as important, have a lot of fun. You can find a camp near you by checking out our camps pages.


Original posting 25 Jul 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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