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October 13, 2001


Question from Eagan, Minnesota, USA:

A 57 year old female, not on any diabetes medication, has had severe night sweats every night for 120 days, her blood sugar 30 day average is 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L] and never goes over 185 mg/dl [10.3 mmol/L]. Her dopamine is high and other 24 hour urine tests are normal. It was thought her steroid inhalers for asthma were causing this, so they have been discontinued with no effect. Her blood sugar has been tested during these episodes, and it is not low. She is following a strict diet, has lost lots of weight, and started hormone replacement therapy 90 days ago, all having no effect on sweating. Two days ago, on day three of her cycle, she had one night of no sweats, but they have returned, and she is getting exhausted due to the disturbed sleep.. She has had an MRI and a CAT scan that are normal. Her endocrinologist is baffled, and says it must be just a symptom of diabetes.


The cause for these symptoms is not clear to me either. Since these symptoms could be from other issues besides diabetes or an endocrine disorder, I would suggest this woman speak with her physician. If there is a problem making the diagnosis, she should ask for a referral for another opinion.