May 8, 2007
Question from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA:
Six months before his diagnosis, my teen son indulged in heavy weightlifting exercise. He is tall, athletic, and thin. With a viral infection, we checked his blood sugar and it was 168 mg/dl [9.3 mmol/L], but after a few hours it went to HI. We took him to the hospital and they started him on Lantus and NovoLog. After one week, his readings were back to normal. His C-Peptide was 3.9 and antibody tests were normal, except GAD-65, which was positive. His readings are within the range except, sometimes, his fourth hour reading is around 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L]. His fasting sugars are between 80 mg/dl [4.4 mmol/L] and 120 mg/dl [6.7 mmol/L]. He seems stressed most of the time. Also, they ran a stress test in school and it was 90%. Is this diabetes or is it that his stress hormones are working overtime? He eats well and has even gained weight with no insulin. What is the best treatment for him?
It sounds like his treatment is fine. Stress certainly can raise blood glucose levels, so you may want to have him evaluated to work on relaxation responses. Some call this yoga, some deep relaxation, some self-hypnosis but they are all versions of the same process where one can learn to “turn down” the stress hormones such as adrenaline and thereby lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels, etc. If he has antibody positivity, then the calmness of his current blood glucose is not likely to last indefinitely, but resting the damaged pancreas has some long term positive implications for longer stability during this “honeymoon” phase. Positive antibodies in these circumstances would confirm the diagnosis of type 1 autoimmune diabetes.