Managing Secondary Diabetes Depends On The Cause – All Pages


Use of insulin is sometimes necessary to manage secondary diabetes. – Secondary diabetes is diabetes or glucose intolerance that develops from a disorder or condition other than type 1 or type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.

Secondary diabetes can give rise to primary diabetes in people who are predisposed to developing primary diabetes.

Common causes secondary diabetes including but not limited to pancreatitis, pancreatectomy, malnutrition, endocrinopathy, and drugs, chemicals, and toxins.

Some signs and symptoms secondary diabetes among others increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, and unexplained weight loss.

There is also fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, wounds that are slow to heal, and frequent infections, such as gum or skin infections and vaginal infections.

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In some people there is the presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that occurs when there is not enough insulin available).

Quoted from Diabetes UK, how secondary diabetes is managed can vary greatly depending on the condition causing it.

1. Insulin resistance

Some of the medical conditions listed will result in insulin resistance, which is where the body is unable to respond to insulin adequately.

This forces the body to release more insulin in an attempt to keep blood glucose levels under control. Insulin resistance is a characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance is a hallmark of diabetes caused by Cushing’s syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Lifestyle changes are an important part of treatment.

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If medication is needed to control blood glucose levels, metformin is usually prescribed with stronger medications, including insulin, available if blood glucose levels remain high.

2. Loss of pancreatic function

Some forms of secondary diabetes, such as diabetes due to pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis, can cause loss of pancreatic function.

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That is, the pancreas may not be able to produce enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels stable.

In this form of secondary diabetes, insulin injections may need to be done to keep blood sugar levels under control.

However, in some cases, taking diabetes medication in tablet form may suffice.

People who have had a pancreatectomy will not be able to produce their own insulin and therefore need to take insulin injections regularly in a similar way to people with type 1 diabetes.

3. Excessive glucagon production

In glucagonoma, a tumor in the pancreas causes too much glucagon to be released.

Glucagon works in the opposite way to insulin, and instructs the release of glucose into the blood, which can cause blood sugar levels to become too high.

Treatment for glucagonoma is to target the tumor directly with anti-tumor therapies such as chemotherapy or through surgery to remove the tumor.

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Is secondary diabetes permanent? In some cases the diabetes will be permanent. The cases when diabetes need not be permanent are if the cause of the diabetes can be corrected.

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For example, it is sometimes possible to reverse the effects of diabetes on hemochromatosis if the condition is properly treated in time.

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Diabetes due to glucagonoma can also be temporary if it is treated quickly enough.


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