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From Ohio, USA:

My niece was diagnosed as with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10 years old; she is now 23. She is actively working with her doctors but she is having a real battle right now. It's noteworthy to also tell you she has never taken great control or care of her diabetes.

They have now prescribed steroids to help her adrenal glands. We are trying to find information on how diabetes affects the adrenal gland and what it does to the adrenal gland. She has had major periods in the last 2 weeks were she is dropping very low very fast and they have reduced her insulin to only 1 unit of Regular a day. She was taking much more of both kinds twice daily. We are concerned and are just trying to find as much research as we can.


Some years ago after Type 1 Diabetes came to be recognised as a disorder of the immune system, it was discovered that diabetes was often associated with other organ specific autoimmune problems, the commonest of which was hypothyroidism. These associations were found to be quite common to the extent they are often referred to as Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndromes. As part of the routine testing for antibodies now, two new items are included one is for anti-21-hydroxylase and the other is for anti-endomyseal antibodies. The former test indicates a vulnerability to Addison's disease (adrenal cortical insufficiency) and the second to celiac disease, a disorder of the intestinal mucosa. There can be many other components to this syndrome and not all of them involve endocrine glands: e.g., vitiligo [white skin patches] and pernicious anemia [a rare form of anemia] and of course diabetes is not always the presenting component. There is an extensive research literature on all of this.

As to the low blood sugars, it seems possible that glucocorticoid [steroid hormone] insufficiency would reduce the ability of the liver to generate glucose and thus decrease the need for exogenous insulin.


Original posting 12 Apr 1998
Posted to Other Illnesses


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