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February 12, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms, Other Illnesses

Question from Michigan, USA:

I am trying to find some information for one of the parents in my support group. At the age of 1 1/2, she found out that her daughter’s pancreas was not growing. She was told that her daughter was diabetic, but is controlled by diet. She is seeing an endocrinologist, but is still very confused. Her daughter’s pancreas has not grown at all since diagnosis, and the endocrinologist is starting to worry. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin for the growing child. It is hard for her to participate in the support group, as the rest of the kids are Type 1. I am trying to find some information for her, to help her understand this better.


From: DTeam Staff

Hypoplasia of the pancreas or even aplasia is a very rare but recognised cause of diabetes in early life. The degree of involvement of the pancreas is rather variable and it is quite consistent with this diagnosis that the pancreas was small at 18 months and has remained small. At some stage the diminished pancreas will be unable to sustain insulin needs and in time your friend’s daughter is likely to become fully dependant on injected insulin. By that time perhaps some work in new Zealand is showing that islet cell xenotransplantation may become a relatively simple matter. One cause of this is intrauterine malnutrition and a small birth weight would support that.

At some stage there is also likely to be and insufficiency of pancreatic exocrine enzymes and these may have to supplemented as they are in cystic fibrosis.

It sounds as though this infant is getting expert care, so you would be justified in making your friend optimistic about the future.