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November 14, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Houston, Texas, USA:

My sister has type 2 diabetes, and I do not really know that much about it, but I don't think that she does either. She has only known for about five years and has had a lot of complications. She has neuropathy and has had pancreatitis a few times. For about the last six months, she has been in the hospital seven times for the same problem. She starts throwing up and can't stop. They don't let her eat or drink and get all of her levels back in order, but no one seems to know what causes this. Last time she went in her triglyceride level was 5000, and its supposed to be under 500. Have you ever heard of anyone having this, and what could it be?

Answer:

Elevated triglycerides are a well recognized cause of pancreatitis, and it is essential that the triglycerides be lowered to prevent recurrence. If she has type�2 diabetes, treatment of the diabetes will help lower the triglycerides. Sometimes people can have recurrent pancreatitis and cause type 2 diabetes. If she has neuropathy, it would be important to determine if this is from diabetes or from another cause. In the case of the triglycerides in the thousands, it is important to know that this elevation could be the result of a familial disorder that may run in the family. It would be important to know whether anyone else in the family had these elevations in their triglyceride levels.

JTL