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Question:

From Essex, England:

I have been told that people with type 1 diabetes can control their condition with tablets before they reach the stage where insulin injections are necessary. Can you tell me what these tablets are and how they control the condition? Also I have also been told by a friend about how her daughter, who is diabetic, has suffered a considerable weight loss as a result of her diabetes. Is this normal?

Answer:

The answer to your first question is that is not necessarily so. It depends on what you mean by control. Be definition, people with Type 1 diabetes have a relative or total loss of insulin production/secretion. No pills can bring this back. Some patients may have a gradual loss of insulin secretion, and in those patients where that is the case, pills may allow for a temporary improvement in blood sugar control. This may not be the best treatment, however. The blood sugar control may not be the best. Insulin therapy may still be superior, especillay if it normalizes blood sugars. This has the added benefit of improving the function of the insulin-producing cells still not damaged by the autoimmune process.

Weight loss is a common symptom when high blood sugars persist over weeks to months. With diabetes, the body is not capable of utilizing the food that is eaten. Some people refer to it as a condition where people starve in the presence of plenty. Sugars rise to very high levels and the sugar is then excreted in the urine. To make up for the loss of calories, muscle is broken down to allow for an alterantive fuel source. It is a vicious cycle until patients are adequately insulinized. The short answer to your question is that it frequently happens but it is not good for it to occur. People then require considerable time to renourish themselves.

JTL

DTQ-20031112154626
Original posting 27 Nov 2003
Posted to Insulin and Daily Care

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:52
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