A 14 year old girl developed diabetes shortly after sustaining severe closed head injury in an automobile accident. Need to know probability of whether there was a causal relationship between the injury and the diabetes.
There are two different illnesses that have the name "diabetes" in them:
- High blood sugar: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) (a genetic disorder, with high blood sugar problems due to deficiency or ineffectiveness of the hormone insulin).
DM might be triggered in genetically-susceptible individuals as a result of severe stress, which might theoretically include auto accidents. Please note, we would not say that the diabetes is caused by the accident, since the person was by definition, genetically-susceptible.
Also, anyone with severe medical problems, such as head injuries, might develop transient high blood sugar levels. This usually resolves very quickly, although the patient may require insulin for a short period of time.
- Frequent urination and thirst without any blood sugar problem: Diabetes Insipidus (DI) (continuing urination due to deficiency of another hormone called antidiuretic hormone, ADH).
DI may occur as a result of head trauma, since the ADH hormone is made in the pituitary gland in the center of the head.
These are two entirely different disorders. Unless we know more about the situation, it's impossible to answer your question.
Original posting 27 Apr 96
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