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October 14, 2002

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Calgary, Alberta, Canada:

Can type 1 diabetes be caused by a impact to the pancreas? If so, how long after this would type 1 diabetes generally show up?


It is not likely that trauma to the pancreas would cause type 1 diabetes of the autoimmune variety. Trauma to the pancreas that would result in surgical removal or other loss of islet cells would cause insulin deficiency and thus diabetes. Pancreatitis, an inflammation would do something similar. Treatment would be identical to any kind of type 1 diabetes where there is more severe insulin deficiency/absence, require insulin for life, etc.


[Editor’s comment: Traumatic injury to the pancreas (from pancreatitis or surgical removal) causes a situation of insulin deficiency very similar to type 1 diabetes, but without the antibodies. Technically, such diabetes is not type 1 or type 2 but falls into a miscellaneous category of “Other Specific Types” — see Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.