10 answers

My Son Might Have Juvenile Diabetes

The past couple of weeks my 4 1/2 year old son has had classic symptoms of juvenile diabetes. Up until yesterday he has complained about being tired (which is highly unlike him) and he had been drinking a lot (juice is what he craves) and going to the bathroom like a maniac. He has also been very irritable and complaining about his legs hurting. He is hungry all the time often eating again after an hour of just finishing a meal. The only symptom that he doesn't have is weight loss. He actually has gained weight. He has had several accidents throughout the day and he has woken up in the morning soaked. Last week I had to change his sheets 4 times. He still wears a pull up at night but he seems to soak right through those. I think sometimes he wets himself because he gets too involved in what he is doing. He was going to the bathroom every half hour or so and at first I thought it was a stage but then I became worried after him doing this quite frequently and wetting himself at least two times a day. He has been potty trained for well over a year now and we haven't had any accidents up until recently. I thought maybe he was regressing due to my ex husband moving out of state. He has not seen his father in three weeks and it started right after he moved out. I have a 21 month old who craves a lot of my attention, so I associated it with him being jealous, and wanting attention. Yesterday I made an appointment with the doctor to have a blood test done so i'm a little nervous. Yesterday though he didn't complain about being tired and had no accidents and only went to the bathroom a few times out of the day and hardly had anything to drink. Today is basically the same as yesterday, but he did have an accident earlier in the morning. I don't know what to think. Is there anyone that knows about juvenile diabetes and if symptoms can go dormant for days and then come back? Any input would be great. Thanks in advance!

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Featured Answers

I did the test for my daughter too... drinking is the real issue... if they are drinking excessivly.. this is a warning sign. My daughter didn't have it.. she just loves to drink a lot.. good luck..

More Answers

Hi F.,

As you probably know, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body destroys its own beta cells in the pancreas -- those are the cells which secrete insulin. The condition often comes on very quickly but is progressive because the diabetes gets more severe as more and more beta cells are destroyed. Thus, if your son has diabetes, you would expect his symptoms to become more severe with time. I'm unfamiliar with it ever spontaneously improving, but I did a little google search for you and found a note by an endocrinologist who said he's never personally seen someone with type 1 who had a "honeymoon" period.

Also, in diabetes, the body can't absorb glucose (why sufferers are hungry), so most of the calories they eat go right through them. It would be very surprising to see your son gain weight if he actually doesn't have enough insulin.

However, the big caveat is that almost anything can present atypically, so you really can't know without the test results. You should know, though, that your son's weight gain and spontaneous improvement point away from type 1 diabetes.

Let us know how he does!

You did the right thing making an appointment with the doctor. All you can do now is rule out the JD (which I really hope is the case). If he doesn't have JD, you might want to consider a little therapy for him. Play therapy is a wonderful thing for a boy his age and will help him get his emotions in check about his dad moving away (how tragic for a boy his age - how would he deal with that). Better to address all of this now (JD diagnosis or not) rather than wait until he acts out later. best of luck to you. Hang in there.

Sounds more like a growth spurt. Definitely talk to the doctor though.

My 2 year old was drinking alot and his diapers was soaked all the time. I was worried like you, couldn't imagine why he should be so thirsty so much of the time. I asked the doctor at his 2 year old visit and she told me that juice actually makes the kids more thirsty. Before doing blood tests she asked me to have him drink milk at each meal and water only, in between meals - no juice. I have been dioing that and he has not been as thirsty at all.
Good luck.
J.

Hi F., I don't know how much help I'll be, but I can tell you about my own experience. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile diabestes) at age 10. I remember that in January of that 5th grade year I started drinking a lot of water, and I hated water, but that's how thirsty I was. I don't know if this ever waned and came back, stayed steady, or got progressively worse. In February, after Valentine's Day, it was our winter break. That whole week I was sick as a dog. Yet, my caregivers loaded me up with regular Ginger Ale, Jello, Kool-Aid, Popsicles, and orange juice made special by my dad (because I hated oj, but I loved it the way he made it in the blender). Sometimes I vomited this stuff back up too (sorry to be gross). Well, who knew? Finally on Friday I went to the pediatrician and indeed had lost a good 20 pounds, had labwork done, but he misdiagnosed me as simply having the flu and I should have gone to the hospital that night. The next day I remember little because I ended up going into a coma till Sunday, when I woke up in the hospital, starving, IV in my ankle because that was where they could find the vein.

The point is, and I hope that this is a comfort to you, no one had a clue about me until it got extreme. You are obviously educated on the symptoms and are being proactive about it. I don't think the symptoms would just go dormant, because once sugar is high and untreated, it doesn't go down on its own, you know? I think they would just get progressively worse. However, if your little guy does have it, you caught it early enough so that it wouldn't get to the point it got with me. You should have your answer by now, on the bloodwork, I mean. It doesn't take that long to get the results. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.
(PS) It took time to get it right, but I'm still here 23 years later, so even if he does have it, know that with the right combination of medicine, diet, diabetes team, etc, he'll be ok, too. It'll be bumpy, especially when he gets sick, but it'll ultimately be ok. :)

F. --

While I don't know much about juvenile diabetes, I do know the dangers of self-diagnosing thanks to having so much much information (and misinformation) at your fingertips via the Internet. When I suffered a series of migraines last summer I hit the medical websites and convinced myself I had a brain tumor (true story).

I certainly recommend that you consult a doctor if you're ever concerned about your son's health, but for a moment step back and assess the situation again:

Based on your description, your son is a 4 1/2-year-old bundle of energy who's been craving fluids, ravenously hungry and goes to the bathroom frequently to the point of having nighttime accidents. Meanwhile, he's also been going through some major upheavals. Add to that hot, humid weather -- when it's not raining.

Your son's legs may ache from his constant activity. He's drinking and eating a lot because he's hot, thirsty and burning up a lot of energy that he needs to replace. He's going to the bathroom a lot as a result of the additional fluid and food intake. He's probably gained weight because even though he's burning off energy he's still growing and will gain weight simply by virtue of getting bigger.

The nighttime accidents most likely stem from the additional fluids, and you may have to cut back on the juice (which is a good idea anyway), especially as it gets closer to bedtime. I'm guessing the accidents are more likely related to his father's absence, as you mentioned that they started right after he moved out. BTW, your 21-month-old is also reacting to your husband's absence by demanding your attention. Kids are resilient but they do sense the tension and react accordingly.

Anyway, it sounds like your son is a typical 4-year-old boy going through a tough time at home in the middle of a hot, humid summer. Because you've already taken him to the doctor for blood work, try to relax while you wait for the results and find some fun activities to distract yourself and your kids as well as bond with them. They need you now more than ever. And be kind to yourself, too. Build up a strong support network you trust to take your kids off your hands once in a while so you can take a break. And stay off the medical websites, LOL. The Internet can be a useful tool, but sometimes it's the source of unnecessary stress.

Hi F.! my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 7, it usually is a pretty easy call, if all the symptoms are there. which in your case it doesn't seem like it. My daughter had ALL the symptoms. She lost weight and everything. Don't panic too much. Wait to see what the dr says. Does your son drink and then pee right away??? that is another sign. Give him water not juice right now cause if he does test positive, the water will flush out the high sugar. Juice is the worst thing for him right now, until you see what the dr. says.
Hope this helps and good luck. If you need support just send me a message, I went through it all already.
J.

I did the test for my daughter too... drinking is the real issue... if they are drinking excessivly.. this is a warning sign. My daughter didn't have it.. she just loves to drink a lot.. good luck..

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