June 26, 2001
Question from Michigan, USA:
My mother-in-law has diabetes, is nauseated, and sometimes she vomits. This makes it difficult for to eat. Her doctor says that diabetes causes this. What we can do about this?
Vomiting is a very vague symptom that can happen in people with diabetes for reasons unrelated to diabetes itself. If your doctor thinks your mother-in-law’s vomiting is due to diabetes, he probably means she has diabetic autonomic neuropathy, perhaps causing gastroparesis, and your mother-in-law needs further studies to verify this hypothesis.
[Editor’s comment: You have not said whether your mother-in-law has type 1 or type 2 diabetes or what her blood sugars have been. People with type 1 and high blood sugars over a period of time can develop DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis], and often vomiting is a symptom of this. DKA requires immediate attention or can lead to hospitalization and possibly death if left untreated.
It is important that your mother-in-law contact her physician to clarify what he (she) meant so that she can receive appropriate treatment for whatever is causing this problem.