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September 13, 2002

Other Illnesses

Question from Guntersville, Alabama, USA:

About 10 years ago, I had inflammation of the fourth optic nerve on my right side, causing blurry and distorted vision, and it took about three months for my eye to get close to normal. The following year, I developed inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve on my left side (Bell's palsy) which lasted approximately a week. About three months ago, I developed "Bell's palsy" once again on my left side and was on steroids, but nothing has changed. I have been seeing a neurologist who has told me that it is very unusual to have a recurrence of Bell's palsy, especially on the same side. I was diagnosed with type 2 last year. Is it possible that these nerve problems are connected to my diabetes?

Answer:

Neuropathies involving cranial nerves have been clearly described with type 2 diabetes. However, they usually occur after many years of diabetes, not at the onset. It is possible you have had diabetes for several years prior to the diagnosis. The timing of onset is a difficult problem in describing the history of type 2 diabetes. I would also ask your neurologist if there are other neurologic diseases in which cranial nerve neuropathies may occur.

JTL