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May 16, 2000

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Question from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA:

Why would insulin alone or insulin with water kill a diabetic patient who is dehydrating?

Answer:

A person with Type 1 diabetes who is dehydrated needs water and insulin to improve. I’m not sure I understand your question entirely, but it is important to provide extra water in addition to providing insulin when a child with diabetes becomes dehydrated. This can quickly lead to diabetic ketoacidosis without proper intervention. You can read more about this at http://www.uchsc.edu/misc/diabetes/chap14.html.

MSB