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10 yr old sister with juvenile diabetes now having kidney and thyroid problems. Need honest answers!

My 10 yr old sister recently was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes 2 months ago. Recently she was back in the hospital with thyroid and kidney problems. My parents are not giving me full honest answers on what's going on. Is this bad news? I'm 27 and can handle the truth. Does she have a really bad case with a short life span or is this normal with juvenile diabetes?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello, I can appreciate your concerns for your sister.  I'm not a medical professional, just a parent of a kid with diabetes.  Without knowing the specifics of the problems, it's hard to say how connected they are.  It's hard to believe that after only two months that there can be any significant damage to kidneys or thyroids that would shorten life span.  That being said, since diabetes is an autoimmune disease which affects the endocrine system, and the thyroid is also involved in that process, the possibility is there.  The kidneys are a key point in the endocrine system as well, and damage may have happened to them as well.  I pray not, but the possibility is there, and without knowing the specific case it's hard to say.  However, that does not mean that she is doomed to a short life span.  Treatments of thyroid and kidney problems are well known and effective, and even if she does have problems (which I'm not saying she does), that doesn't mean a short life.  

I know I didn't ease any concerns, but I hope I helped.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. When we found out that she had juvenile diabetes she had almost slipped into a coma. Her doctor kept diagnosing her with kidney and bladder infections since she kept wetting the bed at night (which was not like her) her sleeping was very deep and her breath almost smelled like sweet urine if that makes any sense. My mom kept telling the doctor something else was wrong and forced him to test her. Now they are telling us she has had this for awhile and it went undiagnosed. Her sugar levels are staying around 400 which is crazy and no matter what we do nothing is bringing it down. She's lost a lot weight, has dark circles under her eyes and is so tired she doesn't want to go to school which she loves. Is this similiar to your child? thanks for your honest feedback. I'm old enough to have my own children but I think my parents just don't want me to worry.
Avatar universal
Your parents might be overwhelmed themselves.  I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 26 years.  When I was pregnant I had my thyroid removed and now I am on synthroid.  I wanted to tell you that because I wanted you to know that I was diabetic, pregnant, and had surgery to remove my thyroid(quite a bit to have going on at once) and I made it through it and am doing very well(as our my children)  Your sister has a lot going on right now, but she will get through it.  You could educate yourself on diabetes by going to the JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation,website www.jdrf.org it is very informative and will probably answer many of your questions.  
Avatar universal
I am so sorry that your sister is having such a tough time. I was diagnosed at age 12, just a few years older than your sis, and I am now a healthy 49-year-old grandma. Your sister's overactive immune system (that's what causes juvenile-onset diabetes) may be currently attacking thyroid or other endocrine glands. And the endocrine glands all work together, so when one is not functioning well, this can affect lots of bodily functions, including blood sugar. My own twin sister has Addison's disease, which is when the immune system attacks the adrenal glands. In her case, this has made stabilizing her glucose levels more difficult since the hormones produced by the adrenal glands do affect blood sugar. In any event, the thyroid is OFTEN affected in diabetics, and most doctors check the thyroid levels every time they run lab tests to check on us. The doctors may be slowly raising her insulin levels to get that sugar under control, and the kidney infections will subside once the sugars are under control. It can take some time to stabilize a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic, so don't panic. It sounds like she is in very good hands.

You might want to offer this suggestion to your parents (or yourself): contact the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on www.jdrf.org and click on the Online Diabetes Support Team link. This will take you to a page where some brief info can be entered along with a question. This goes to a team of volunteers from all over the country who communicate one-on-one with the person, answering questions from a practical point of view and from the point of view of parents of diabetic kids or long-time type 1 diabetics. Each request is matched up to the volunteer who we believe is the best qualified to answer that particular question, and this can be a real resource to families of newly diagnosed children. Do contact us, and we will try to walk your family though those first weeks.

No, there is no such thing as a "worse" case of type 1 diabetes: we are all in the same boat, with pancreases that have been totally destroyed. None is worse than the other. With insulin and careful daily testing of the ups and downs of our glucose levels, we can live very normal lives. We wish this for your sister.
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