Could I have diabetes?

Patient

Q: Hello, this past week I have been feeling very lightheaded and shakey. My heart starts to race and I feel like my blood sugar is low. I am 15 and I weigh 158 and I'm 5'2. This has been happening on and off since the 8th grade and I'm in 10th now. I went to my current school nurse and she said there was nothing wrong with me and that I just needed to take care of myself. I was thinking this was diabetes because on both sides of my biological family many people have it. My biological father has type 2 and his parents had type 1. I don't want to continue feeling this way. I'm aware I need to take better care of myself but I know that it can be genetic.

Symptoms:  Lightheaded, dizzy, shakey, thirsty, heart racing, feel like passing out
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Although these symptoms you are experiencing are observed in persons suffering from impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, we cannot confirm that you have developed any of these without further testing. Since you have direct relatives with the disease, you are indeed at increased risk for developing diabetes. It is also possibly that your symptoms may be psychological in nature, and associated with anxiety or panic attacks. It would be best to go to your family doctor and have a complete examination performed. You will need to have your blood sugar measured and a special blood test performed to determine if you are indeed suffering from diabetes. If this is ruled out, then other causes of your symptoms can be addressed such as fluctuation of your blood pressure, or even increased thyroid hormone. As you can see, there are a lot of possible causes of your symptoms and it is imperative that you are promptly evaluated to determine the exact cause of your illness.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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