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Question:

From Carbondale, Illinois, USA:

Both this year and last in the Spring I have developed high blood sugar seemingly in association with a virus. No history in my family or myself.

I am 49 years old and healthy, yet in the spring and just after or during a virus (flu) I developed elevated blood sugar, 390 and then down to 240. Last year in October I had a blood capacity check that turned out normal; this year, the check that looks at how my blood was dealing with insulin for the last 6 weeks shows a score of 10.4 where normal is 6.0. Have you heard of a virus associated blood sugar problem? Last year it corrected by diet and this year I am starting a medication to reduce the blood sugar level.

I'm just searching for some answers or direction. When you go to the doctor with classic diabetic symptoms, thirst, vision, etc., you end up in this diagnosis, yet last year it went away and was also in the Spring and when I had a virus. So, what do you think?

Answer:

Diabetes, especially Type 2 in older people, does not always present with a relatively sudden onset of the classical symptoms of polyuria [excessive urination] and polydipsia [excessive thirst]. Rather the onset may be a very gradual affair, albeit one that may be temporarily exacerbated by the stress of an infection. Indeed there have been some surveys that show that there is a significant incidence of undiagnosed diabetes.

The test that you called a 'blood capacity check' was almost certainly for the glycosylated hemoglobin level in your blood. That is for the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, something that is, in turn, a measure of your average blood sugar level over the previous three months or so. The rise from what is probably a quite normal level of 6.0 to 10.4 is a strong indicator that you do indeed have Type 2 Diabetes and that your doctor is doing exactly the right thing in advising you about diet and exercise and the importance of trying to keep blood sugars as near normal as possible. The oral medication is to help you to achieve this.

There is no evidence for a direct relationship between a viral infection and this kind of diabetes, although, as I have already said a viral infection may temporarily exacerbate a mild stage of diabetes that is already present.

DO'B

Original posting 8 Jun 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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