Your child will undergo routine tests to ensure they are in control of their diabetes. Below are explanations of these routine tests.
Growth and Weight Gain
When diabetes is in control, your child should grow and gain weight at a normal rate. Children whose diabetes is in very poor control can lose weight, and may not be as tall as they should. To monitor this, your child's weight and height are plotted on a growth chart at each clinic visit.
This blood test measures the overall control of diabetes over the last 3 months. This is probably the most important lab test for the person with diabetes and should be done every three to four months. At Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, we consider a HgBA1C of 6.7% to 8.8% acceptable and values above 10% as signs of poor sugar control. Acceptable and recommended values vary from lab to lab.
Thyroid Function Tests (T4, TSH)
Children with diabetes tend to be more susceptible to thyroid problems. Some of the symptoms of thyroid problems are: abnormally slow growth, excessive fatigue, and decreased attention span. These tests will be performed once each year.
Normal range for T4 is 5-12.
Normal range for TSH is 0.4 - 4.2
High levels of cholesterol can contribute to heart disease. Cholesterol levels are influenced by dietary cholesterol and saturated fat intake, heredity, smoking, physical inactivity and high blood glucose levels. A total cholesterol level should be done every two years on children. It may be checked more often if high. High density lipid levels (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) should also be monitored.
HDL should be 25% or more of the total cholesterol level.
A normal cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dl.
High blood sugar concentrations over a long period of time can result in the thickening of the membranes of the kidneys. When the kidneys develop this damage, protein abnormally leaks into the urine. To monitor for early signs of kidney problems, a urine microalbumin test is performed each year.
The normal range for this test is less than 30 mg.
Long periods of high blood sugars can also damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes leading to decreased vision. Children over the age of 12 years, who have had diabetes over 5 years, should see an ophthalmologist at least once a year. This is the best way to detect changes in the eyes at a very early stage.