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September 5, 2003


Question from :

I am 34 years old, and I have had both type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism for 25 years. My last urine, blood, eye, and foot exams showed no signs of any complications, and my A1Cs (and everything else) were better than someone my age without any disease states. However over the past two months, heart palpitations, total exhaustion, weight gain, weakness in my arms when I raise them over my head, difficulty in complex thinking, and hair loss so I recently went to a physician. The physician did a number of "hand on" tests, said that my reflexes were excellent, and that he thought I had diabetes-related anemia. I had blood taken and will find out tomorrow. I just looked up anemia and diabetes and was shocked! The research seems to say that anemia in people with type 1 diabetes is a sign of kidney disease. None of the research I read said whether it was the beginning stages or what exactly they mean by "kidney disease" when anemia appears. Is this a correct assumption? Do these symptoms sound like anemia? If that is the case, is it possible to have kidney disease and show no signs in your urine or blood tests? Can you explain the relationship between these disease states and what one would expect if this was the case?


Hold on. Don’t get ahead of yourself. I would suggest that you do not have anemia from kidney problems. Rather, people with poorly controlled diabetes have been known to have a type of anemia from chronic disease. This may not be a correct diagnosis either, since you have indicated your blood sugars are under good control. I would recommend you ask your physician about your thyroid. People with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of thyroid problems. Your symptoms may also be related to too much thyroid hormone being around.