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June 16, 2005

Diagnosis and Symptoms, Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Henderson, Kentucky, USA:

Is there any evidence suggesting that one could develop diabetes after surgery? My 10 year old son recently had a tonsillectomy. About three weeks after his surgery, he had frequent urination, sometimes three times in one hour. He was always hungry. Last night, he was complaining of feeling shaky. He lost 12 pounds after surgery, which puts him at about 90 pounds now. After surgery, it took nearly two weeks to get him to eat. The day before he started eating, he was hard to wake and was disoriented after waking. I did call his doctor and the threat of having to go back is what got him to eat. Could this episode have brought on diabetes? I did have a sister passed away from type 1 at the young age of 28.

Answer:

Diabetes cannot be caused by, or have any relation to, a tonsillectomy. Your son developed diabetes a few weeks after that surgery, but the surgery did not cause his diabetes. Indeed, we simply don’t know, for the most part, what causes type 1 diabetes. It certainly is not because of any choice you have made.

MSB