By Collin Siedor
There are over 13 million people in America who are being treated for diabetes and the number is growing. There are six million more diabetics who aren't being treated; they have the disease, they just don't know it.
Caleb Echols is four years old and his mother has brought him to the emergency room because she fears he may have diabetes. There is diabetes on both sides of Caleb's family. The day before, his diabetic mom checked her own blood sugar level and then, on a whim, she checked his.
"His level was about 220 and then she tested him again after he ate and it was even higher, about 290, so she brought him to the emergency room," explains Dr. Kathleen Nelson, Professor of Pediatrics.
A normal glucose level for children is between 60 and 100. Still, Caleb seems active and healthy.
"So the fact that he looks good," Dr. Nelson says to Caleb's mother, "and the fact that you found a high blood sugar means that, if he has got a problem, it just started."
But has it started? Caleb is a skinny kid but recently he's been able to gain a little weight.
"Diabetic children often have increased hunger and increased thirst but they don't gain weight, they actually lose weight," Dr. Nelson says.
That's the other classic sign- thirst.
"Kids with diabetes drink and drink and drink and not only do they drink but they urinate a lot," the doctor says.
But Caleb is not especially thirsty, not urinating a lot, not losing weight, and not acting sick. There's something wrong here. Sure enough, when they test his blood, the read out in normal. Then, a few minutes later, the results of the urine test are back.
"The good news is that the urine looks negative… so I'm thinking it was bad calibration," Dr. Nelson says.
It seems the glucose measuring device at Caleb's home needs to be repaired or re-calibrated. There's nothing wrong with this boy.