"My child urinates a lot - does she have diabetes?"

Mr. Davis brought his 5-year-old daughter. Melissa, in because he was afraid that she had diabetes. "You see, Doc," he anxiously related, "My father had diabetes and so did my grandmother. Melissa has been urinating quite a lot lately, and I know that's one of the signs of diabetes." He's right, you know; increased urination is one of the symptoms of diabetes. So is increased appetite, increased thirst, and weight loss in spite of all of this excessive intake of food and fluids. However, Melissa did not wake up at night to urinate, which is sometimes (but not always) a sign of diabetes. AH of these symptoms, by the way, are due to a lack of insulin which causes the blood sugar to rise. When there's so much sugar in the blood, the body tries to get rid of it by dumping it out through the urine. Unfortunately, the sugar has to take water with it; the water is taken at the expense of body cells which need the water. And that's where the trouble with diabetes begins. With a child, a simple urine test for sugar will give us a clue if diabetes is present. Melissa's urine test was normal; we assumed that she was urinating so much because she started drinking a lot of beverages during the hot summer. Diabetes is very unusual in children, contrasted to adults. Youngsters tend to have an absolute, total shutdown of insulin. Adults with diabetes, on the other hand, have "lazy" pancreases which secrete insulin only sluggishly. You can think of childhood diabetes and adult diabetes as two entirely separate illnesses, since they have different symptoms, age of onset, and so on. Of all the diabetics in the nation, only about 5% are children under the age of 16.