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Diabetes caused by another disease

Many pancreatic diseases may damage the insulin-producing cells and cause diabetes. Diabetes may also be linked to other diseases which include reduced insulin secretion or efficiency.

Some other disease or treatment may either increase the need for insulin or damage pancreatic insulin secretion so that body's own insulin secretion is no longer enough to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Diabetes resulting as a consequence of another medical condition is called secondary diabetes.

An acute or chronic pancreatitis may damage the cells of the pancreatic islets to such a degree that remaining insulin secretion is not sufficient. It may be the result of heavy alcohol use, an inflammation of the gall bladder, pancreatitis resulting from a medicine, etc. The person may also have some other predisposition to diabetes, and pancreatitis triggers the onset of diabetes.

Logically, the partial or full removal of the pancreas results in diabetes. Diabetes may also be the first symptom of pancreatic cancer.

Depending on the scope of the pancreatic disease, in some cases, blood sugar can stay at the target level with lifestyle and tablet treatment. However, in most cases, insulin injection treatment is needed.

After pancreatitis or a pancreas surgery, there is usually also a deficiency of the digestive enzymes generated by the pancreas. A typical symptom is steatorrhea. The treatment is capsules containing digestive enzymes taken with meals.

Haemochromatosis is a relatively rare inherited condition where iron levels in the body build up. Approximately 10–30 percent of the cases exhibit an adulthood onset of diabetes caused by an insulin secretion disorder.

    An overproduction of cortisol in the adrenal cortex, growth hormone of the pituitary gland or thyroid hormone reduces the effect of insulin in tissues. This may result in blood sugar reaching diabetes levels.

    The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) includes insulin resistance, i.e. the reduced efficacy of insulin and a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes.

    A chromosome excess or deficiency is linked with several syndromes resulting in a higher-than-average risk of diabetes. They include Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome and Down syndrome.

    Diabetes or the onset of it may also be caused by drug therapy which reduces the efficacy or secretion of insulin.

    For example, the risk of type 2 diabetes is increased by oral cortisone tablets, anti-rejection medication used after an organ transplant, some mental health medications and large doses of cholesterol medication. Genetic predisposition or other risk factors also have an effect to the increased risk.

    Updated 30.9.2023