From Lafayette, Louisiana, USA:
My 14-year old daughter is Type 1. She wonders why, if insulin helps metabolize food, weight loss is a symptom of diabetes? That is, will insulin be more likely to make her gain weight or lose weight?
To address the first question, that is weight loss as a symptom, this happens at diagnosis because in type 1 diabetes, where insulin deficiency is the result of the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, the body cannot metabolize food. This further leads to overutilisation of body's fat storage and consequently progressive weight loss. Treatment with exogenous insulin leads patients to regain lost weight.
Original posting 1 Nov 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
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