Unexplained Weight Loss in Children

lisa_flaFebruary 10, 2003

What could cause this? My 10 y.o. has lost about 10 pounds and it really shows. I am certain she is not dieting or anorexic. She is not troubled by anything and continues to get excellent grades. The thing that jumps out at me is could this be diabetes? Not sure if she drinks alot, but I do notice if she drinks soda, it makes her more thirsty. Then of course, she'll need to pee. She is not overly tired though and does stay up reading in bed sometimes. Some of these are red flags, so I scheduled her for a check up on the 17th, and also told the receptionist my concerns in case they want to order lab tests or schedule extra time, etc. She did break 2 bones in her arm in May, I don't think that has anything to do with it, but it was a big shock to her system I'm sure. She appears to be growing normally, but I'm wondering if there's anything else that can cause weight loss. Not sure, but I doubt a growth spurt would.

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Yes, it could be diabetes. Most definitely. Go see a doctor now.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2003 at 8:45AM
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And don't rule out anorexia....I have seen girls as young as 10, high achievers, set high goals for themselves become naorexic....and sometimes Drs don't spot it.
But you are wise to rule out other things as well.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 1:45PM
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Sounds like diabetes. Hope it is something much easier to resolve.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 5:17PM
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What is the time span for the weight loss? If it's over a period of months, then maybe she's been more active lately? Maybe she's gotten taller? Of course, if it's over a shorter time period, you are right to have her screened for diabetes. Is there a family history?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 8:03PM
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In the meantime I would eliminate pop from her diet altogether. I just did an article on this and was amazed to find out how much sugar is in it. Same with things like Kool Aid and even juices.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 9:57PM
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How did things go at the doctor?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2003 at 7:39AM
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Yes, I am also wondering how things went. My daughter had a friend last year with EXACTLY what you are describing. She was 10 at the time and everyone was noticing her weight loss, by the time her mom got worried enough and took her to the doctor she ended up in the hospital for a week with diabetes.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2003 at 11:05PM
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Sorry for not following up, I thought I did. Anyway, I took her to the DR and she did the full physical plus a finger prick and a urine test. They came out fine and she said diabetes would have definitely shown up if that was the case. She has grown 2 1/2 inches and lost 6 1/2 pounds according to their records. However when she did the ratios, DD came out 50th percentile on both height and weight. She looks very thin to me. The DR is not concerned at this point and theorized that it may be a combination of a growth spurt and the inactivity in early summer when her arm was in a cast. She told me to check her weight again in a couple of months just to be sure it isn't continuing to fall. She seems to eat appropriatly-I just made her 2 soft boiled eggs and 2 slices of honey toast after school :-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2003 at 3:51PM
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Who knows, maybe she's starting to "fill out," so to speak. I think I started developing around 10-11 and got my period at probably 12. My mom was later (14) and grandma was early (11) - so you never know. Glad to know she's okay!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2003 at 8:00PM
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An Update. Kim has continued to lose weight while eating more and dinking more. She had a sore throat last weekend so I took her back to the DR on Monday and brought up my concerns again. The DR repearted the tests, and this time her blood glucose was 579!!! (she didn't require hospitalization-we went directly to a pediatric endocrinologist) So she does have diabetes :-( Now it is Thursday and she looks so much better already. Her color is back, and she's feeling much more energetic. All of us are coping very well. Just wanted to let all of you know the end result.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 2:18PM
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Wow.Lisa I'm so sorry to hear that.But you did such a great job staying on top of things.Hope she continues to do well.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 2:54PM
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I'm so sorry! But I am glad you trusted your instincts! I was reading in the Diabetes Forecast about sometimes not being able to diagnose from a blood test, due to various circumstances. If you have any questions, let me know!

The key to diagnosing diabetes is not the fingerprick but a blood test called a hemoglobin A1C (HA1C). This can give a reading of your 'average' blood sugars over the past 6 weeks and is a better indicator of blood sugar problems.

Also I highly recommend you join ADA and get a subscription to Diabetes Forecast. It answers a lot of questions, and has a lot of good articles related to young kids and handling diabetes.

My thoughts are with you and your family!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 3:35PM
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Good luck honey, one day at a time.

Look into a low or NO carb diet. I've been told to cut out potatoes & breads for my elevated borderline sugar.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 10:42AM
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Juvenial diabetis is very dangerous in children. You should talk to a specialist regarding diet, medication etc. Yes the Diabetic magazine will help, but hopefully you can go to some seminars regarding this. Her sugar will bounce like a yo yo and sometimes it needs to be checked 4-6 times daily. When she starts to school, immediatly go to the principal and her teacher to talk to them You will need to moniter her diet, and teach her what to eat and not to eat. If there are school parties arrange with the parents what to bring so she will not be left out. Years ago we attended seminar for hubby and these things I listed were some of the things they brought out. If there any training classes to help out at the local hospital/medical offices attend them. The more you know the better it is for all.
Hopefully, by now she is on medication and testing her blood.
Good luck

    Bookmark   July 27, 2003 at 8:50PM
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We know a little girl (age 10-11) who has JD and uses an insulin pump. You know it must be pretty bad if she has to have that. She is doing remarkably well - very independent, but knows what she must do to maintain and what she can and cannot eat. I think once your daughter gets into a routine and figures out what she needs to do, she'll be fine - and the other kids will understand; it probably will be a non-issue for them. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2003 at 11:58PM
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Actually the insulin pump doesn't mean she's bad off.

It is a relatively new tool, that is used in adult diabetics who have become very brittle. But it is also more and more commonly used by children and young adults due to their sometimes crazy eating habits, wild hormone swings as they approach adolescence and unpredictable schedules. Young girls also experience tough-to-control sugars as their monthly cycles begin to occur.

The pump gives them the ability to keep their sugars more at a norm during the day due to a basal dose of insulin it gives out. In addition, they can push a button and administer fastacting insulin as their daily needs require.

In short, the pump is the closest thing to a 'replacement pancreas' you can get, without actually getting a new pancreas. And it gives chldren and young adults their best shot at keeping sugars normal over the years. In the long run, it will give them a proven chance to avoid long-term complications like kidney failure, heart disease, blindness and other complications.

And it will help them fit in with the other kids, without having to get a needle out and administer a shot.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 7:22AM
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