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Question:

From Humboldt, Arizona, USA:

It was determined, about one month ago, that I have pancreatic insufficiency. I went to a gastroenterologist after weeks of diarrhea and extreme fatigue. After testing, they found the problem with the pancreas. They did a CT to check the pancreas and said it looks normal. I asked the doctor if taking the enzymes would help my fatigue. She said that the insufficiency should not be making me that tired. I told her that I get really lightheaded, dizzy, short of breath, flushed and extremely tired about 45 minutes after eating. If I eat some yogurt at that time, I feel a little better. This is a vicious cycle all day long. I am just so tired all the time. I am going to the bathroom every few minutes. Now, I have tingling in my feet, but I am not sure what that is. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago and have always had numb tingly feet.

I don't think my gastroenterologist took me seriously at all. When I asked her what could cause the insufficiency, she basically said she does not know. I asked if it is possible that since my pancreas is malfunctioning in one area, could it be possible that the area that makes insulin could be affected? She said she did not think so.

Upon talking to my neurologist and my general practitioner, they finally decided to order a glucose tolerance test. I did the test yesterday and do not have the results yet. But, about 30 to 45 minutes after drinking the solution, I was so lightheaded, foggy and dizzy that I could hardly finish the last two hours of the three hour test.

Is it possible that I could have diabetes that caused the insufficiency or the insufficiency caused the diabetes? I have been losing weight slowly over the last few months and I am just so drained. I am normally very active but, now, I don't feel like I can do much at all physically. I have three children and I need my energy back.

Answer:

You ask what seems on the surface to be a straightforward question. However, how sure are your doctors about the pancreatic insufficiency? When your pancreas does make the enzymes necessary to digest your food, you become deficient in fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E. This can have effect on your energy if you are malnourished. There are some diseases that result in damage to the pancreas. These diseases damage all of the pancreas. By the time they have destroyed the pancreas enough to cause diarrhea and malabsorption, the blood sugars are likely to be affected, too, as the insulin producing cells can be damaged in a similar way as an innocent bystander. My question for you is: what caused the underlying damage to the pancreas?

The symptoms you had during the oral glucose tolerance test are not uncommon. This is especially true if you happen to go low during the test and develop hypoglycemia. You will have to wait for the results before you put the information together correctly with the help of your physician.

JTL

DTQ-20080129140926
Original posting 29 Jan 2008
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:16
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