Which physical findings are characteristic of pediatric type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: William H Lamb, MD, MBBS, FRCP(Edin), FRCP, FRCPCH; Chief Editor: Sasigarn A Bowden, MD  more...
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Apart from wasting and mild dehydration, children with early diabetes have no specific clinical findings. A physical examination may reveal findings associated with other autoimmune endocrinopathies, which have a higher incidence in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (eg, thyroid disease with symptoms of overactivity or underactivity and possibly a palpable goiter).

Cataracts are rarely presenting problems ; they typically occur in girls with a long prodrome of mild hyperglycemia.

Necrobiosis lipoidica usually, but not exclusively, occurs in people with diabetes. Necrobiosis most often develops on the front of the lower leg as a well-demarcated, red, atrophic area. The condition is associated with injury to dermal collagen, granulomatous inflammation, and ulceration. The cause of necrobiosis is unknown, and the condition is difficult to manage. It is also associated with poor metabolic control and a greater risk of developing other diabetes-related complications.

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