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Interrelationship of Diabetes Mellitus and Pancreatitis

HERMAN T. BLUMENTHAL, MD; J. G. PROBSTEIN, MD; A. W. BERNS, BS
Arch Surg. 1963;87(5):844-850. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310170130022.
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Several types of relationships between pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus have been studied: (1) A transitory hyperglycemia and glycosuria have been observed during acute attacks of pancreatitis which have been attributed to secondary, temporary effects of the acute inflammatory process on the islets of Langerhans. After recovery from the acute episode, the defect in carbohydrate metabolism usually disappears.1 However, the damage appears to be permanent in some cases since Shumacker2 has reported that 3%-10% of patients with acute pancreatitis develop permanent diabetes. (2) The development of acidosis and coma during an attack of acute pancreatitis in an already established diabetes has been particularly stressed by Root3 and more recently by Hughes.4 It appears that in such cases the diabetes antedates the onset of acute pancreatitis. But it remains uncertain whether or not the presence of diabetic coma renders the patient more susceptible to attacks of acute pancreatitis.

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