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March 23, 2012

Weight and Weight Loss

Question from Winter Springs, Florida, USA:

My son, who has had type 1 for 25 years, has recently been losing weight and does not seem able to re-gain it. He has also had the flu several times this year. His doctor said neither of these are related to his diabetes. He lives in another part of the country and travels extensively. I don't see him for several months. I was very surprised at how very thin he was when he visited last week.


The causes for his weight loss are very broad. Yes, diabetes can cause weight loss when poor control is present and glucose excretion in the urine is high. With good control, some patients eat very little in order to keep very good control. Keeping track of calorie intake could help with that. There are also other illnesses that people with diabetes are predisposed to get but are not related to high blood sugars. For instance, people with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk of developing celiac disease. This causes malabsorption and weight loss may occur from this. Hyperthyroidism is more common in people with diabetes and this may also cause weight loss. These conditions are fairly easy to identify and your son should talk with his physician about them.