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April 12, 2004

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Question from Tecumseh, Michigan, USA:

My girlfriend just had a hysterectomy a few days ago and her blood sugar has been very close to the normal range. Some days, she has not even needed insulin. Her blood sugar was really messed up and her new doctor changed her insulin. It brought it down to about a regular base of about 150 to 170 mg/dl [8.3 to 9.4 mmol/L] as opposed to the 250 to 500 mg/dl [13.9 to 27.7 mmol/L] it used to be. Anyhow, after her operation, it has dropped almost into the safe range. Do you know why this is?

Answer:

From your correspondence, your girlfriend must have type 2 diabetes as some days she does not require insulin. Stress can increase blood sugars, so the lack of a rise after surgery could indicate that the decrease in food intake was significant. In addition, there may have been something within the uterus that kept her blood sugars up. Did she have an infection there? Successful treatment of infection can also decrease blood sugars. This occurs as a result of the decrease in stress hormones that antagonize insulin.

JTL