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November 6, 2006

Other, Other Illnesses

Question from New Hope, Pennsylvania, USA:

I have type 1 diabetes caused by an inflammation of the pancreas due to alcoholism. I’ve been alcohol-free the last ten years. Is there any chance that my pancreas will again produce insulin by my continued lack of alcohol? I now have pancreatitis, neuropathy and am on Fentanyl patches, 100 mcg, every 72 hours, and insulin as needed. My last A1c was 6.3.


From: DTeam Staff

Chronic pancreatitis leads to both a loss of exocrine function (ability to make enzymes for digestion) and loss of endocrine function (ability to make hormones such as insulin). These are pretty much end-stage conditions. If you are on insulin now, it is unlikely that the pancreas will spontaneously begin making insulin again to get you off insulin. The pancreas is usually scarred down with chronic pancreatitis. When chronic pancreatitis occurs, and diabetes occurs, there is usually marked destruction of the pancreas with over 90% of the pancreas involved.