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From Victoria, Australia, USA:

My son (9 years old) was diagnosed earlier this year, but has been sick with similar symptoms for over two years. Does this mean that the diabetes could have been present all this time, or is it as our doctor has said, only developed in the short time before it appeared?


I will try to discuss the immunological development of diabetes and the clinical development of diabetes, and relate it to the probable events your son has experienced.

He began to have immunological diabetes several years ago most likely. That is, his pancreas was being destroyed slowly but surely. However, the pancreas has lots of extra islet cells. His blood sugars were normal or nearly normal for years, most likely. Only very specialized testing might have diagnosed the decreased ability of the pancreas to make insulin. These are part of research studies.

At some point, the ability to make insulin decreased to a point where the blood sugar began to be higher than normal. I occasionally get referrals when a urine glucose is discovered as a part of a healthy child exam. Then the blood glucoses are almost all normal, with an occasional high. Likewise I see children who have a high blood glucose with an illness and go on to develop diabetes later. (I stress this is a rare situation!)

So most likely your son's symptoms were not diabetes until recently. Clinical diabetes, that is: blood glucose over 200mg/dl (11.1 mmol) and symptoms.


Original posting 28 Oct 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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