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Question:

From Dallas, Texas, USA:

I am looking for confirmation and documentation on the effect that a condensed and intense period of stress has on the onset of Type 1 diabetes. About a month ago, I was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes and was able to treat it with diet and exercise. Two months before, I was in a car accident. A month later, I began experiencing severe symptoms including frequent urination and unquenchable thirst. Soon after, with a blood sugar reading of 558, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and put on insulin. I am looking for patients or doctors who have experienced similar situations whereas an accident, auto or otherwise, was the catalyst for the onset of Type 1 diabetes. Since stress can have a dramatic impact on blood glucose, it seems only logical that an intense period of stress, minutes or hours after an accident, can create a chemical reaction within the body that triggers a dependence of insulin.

Answer:

Type I diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In my experience, I have often seen people develop Type 1 diabetes within a year following an extreme psychological or physical stressor. For instance, I have seen children who may have lost a parent, been in an accident, or had a severe illness and then develop diabetes on top of everything.

Type 1 diabetes is not caused by stress, but can occur as a side event; since the autoimmune system is weakened by undue and prolonged stress. I have seen adults (although fewer) who have had a similar experience as yours. However, one cannot discount the impact of heredity, genetics, and the myriad other factors determining our physiological fates.

It is important to note that diabetes does not "go away" when the stress level changes, although the management may change.

CMB

Original posting 1 Mar 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms and Stress

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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