My 17yo daughter has been told she has too much insulin. What does this mean? How is it treated?

Marianne - posted on 09/02/2011 ( 50 moms have responded )

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My 17yo has been feeling nauseas and really tired all the time. We got her blood test results & the doctor said her insulin levels are too high and her thyroid is overactive. Not sure what all this means. The doctor wants her to get another blood test in 6 weeks and then go back for results. Can anyone shed some light?

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Kim - posted on 09/03/2011

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As a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in Internal Medicine AND Women's Health for a long time, I have seen this often. High insulin levels are often a sign of "insulin resistance," which may or may not be related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is often seen when women have irregular menses, excess body hair, and acne. Higher levels of insulin occur when the body's cells do not "process" normal amounts of insulin correctly, and one's pancreas puts out more of it to try to help you use the glucose for energy. For many people, the extra insulin MAY be a precursor to diabetes...down the road. A person will produce excess amounts of insulin to try to help the body use energy (glucose) more effectively. If not treated correctly, over time this MAY progress to diabetes in some people. Your doctor is right to re-evaluate the thyroid levels in another few weeks. They may swing "back" toward normal or even toward the "underactive" side if she is having some auto-immune thyroid issues...and he/she may want to add a few additional thyroid tests as well, rather than the usual TSH. However...by all means, if you aren't getting your questions answered, or if something does not feel "right," then find another provider. Go with your instincts. :)

Debbie - posted on 09/11/2011

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What were the levels and what are the norm? Did she take the test 1st thing in am without food...water only? Does she eat alot of fried food, food high in Trans Fat?

Debbie - posted on 09/04/2011

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Too much insulin means her diet is so high in processes foods and sugars that her pancreas is over releasing insulin. Feed her Eggs (with the yolk ) for breakfast, if she wishes cereal, then old fashion oats with a handful of raisins , an 1/8 tsp honey , 1/4 cup milk and a handful of nuts are a healthy choice. Change her diet to foods as close to how God made them as you possibly can. The more processing of foods the more a person's body will have adverse effects. A diet heavier in protein, balanced with leafy green veggies and some brown rice and approx 2 tbs of olive oil. Cut out all but one soda per week. (soda leaches calcium from blood stream and it have either unnecessary calories or unnecessary sweetener. ) Also if you know a good acupuncturist (who trained in China) you should take her there for treatment. A good acupuncturist can work miracles to balance her thyroid and kick-start proper kidney function. The thyroid filters blood and releases antibodies on things that try to infect the body. The thyroid in adolescents also releases growth hormones. Lastly, stay on top of this with her medical doctor. If she is pre-diabetic, that can be managed, before it turns into full blown diabetes.



Kim Spering's post is right on the money.

Courtney - posted on 09/02/2011

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Too much insulin does not mean diabetes. It is often confused with type II diabetes. As a health professional I am guessing the reason for waiting for 6 weeks is to see if it evens itself out. Like many other meds you generally can't stop once you start them. An example would be I had high blood pressure as a teenager and my doctor suggested I wait a while and continue to check it and after a while if it wasn't controlled by diet I should start medication. He didn't want to start me on a pill I would have to take for the rest of my life if it wasn't necessary. Within 6 months my bp was in the acceptable range and I thank him for sparing me the trouble of medication. Once you start taking a med like that your body becomes basically dependent on it to function normally. Look up "low glycemic foods," and have her eat these foods as much as possible. It may help reduce the level. Also check out PCOS. It is a very common syndrome in teenage girls and young women that has a link to high insulin. Good luck!

Kellie - posted on 09/02/2011

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Sounds like Diabetes to me coupled with an overactive Thyroid. I've not heard of the two together before but as far as I know both can be controlled with medication. Depending if she is diabetic to begin with and which type it's possible she can control it with diet rather than meds.

But this is just pure speculation as I'm not a Doctor or a Nurse. Try to relax and wait until the Doctors have done all they can to find out what the issue/s is/are.

In the mean time change her diet, reduce the amount of carbs she's consuming, when buying food look at the labels and look at the total carbs (carbs breakdown into sugar) anything over 15g per serve is too much. Here is a site for info on diet for Diabetics and meals.

http://www.diabetes-diabetic-diet.com/

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Tanya - posted on 10/31/2013

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I have been told I am prediabetic at level of 24 and I have a underactive thyroid and Im in the same boat I dont know what to do know either

Sara - posted on 10/01/2011

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If its to high then It means that her body is overcompensating for sugars. Could be an early sign of her pancreas failing. I'm not sure why they have you waiting 6weeks thats very dangerous. My 3yr old is diabetic and doesnt produce enough insulin so he was running high thats how we caught it. WIthout the pancreas to properly distribute the insulin the body begins over compensating and the individual becomes very ill. My little guys symptoms were exhaustion, throwing up, lack of appetite, and thirsty all the time!

Traci - posted on 09/24/2011

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Insulin resistance... pre diabetic..thats what they told me about my daughters high insulin levels... I am still not clear on what is going on. and we have been seeing an endocrinologist for the last year, and he really hasnt been much help... they just say to change her diet.. well its hard to do when your dealing with kids!! Good luck

Marianne - posted on 09/24/2011

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Thankyou everyone for your comments and suggestions. I did ask the doctor why we had to wait 6 weeks for another blood test & the doctor said that if there was going to be any change in her thyroid or insulin levels, it wouldnt be detected if we did another blood test straight away. By waiting 6 weeks, the doctor can see if there is any change. If the levels are the same, the doctor will then refer my doctor to a specialist as well as do more thorough tests. I will post again once the blood tests are done and we have seen the doctor for the results. Thankyou everyone, once again.

Sarah - posted on 09/18/2011

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I have six children. My oldest daughter was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes...she was certainly excessivly tired and when the crisis his spent the day throwing up while being despreatly thirsty. We were shocked when we ended up in the ER with this diagnosis. We have no diabetes in our family and she is of average weight. My middle son is, however, quite overweight. He recently had blood work come back that he was developing insulin resistance. I would think in this case he would tend to have more insulin in circulation. The docotors did say that medication was not strictly necessary, but could really help him. He is taking metformin...a diabetes drug which both controls the amount of sugar his liver absorbs and releases. They have said it will also make it easier for him to lose weight. You have not said if your daughter has weight issues, but I wondered if this could be her? The medication does need to be regularly monitored with blood tests, but they are saying that he will only have to take it for a year. If he loses weight and exercises more he will have averted a second case of diabetes in our family. Insulin resistance is seen as an early sign of type 2 onset. I hope this is not your daughter, but if it is know it is not too late to take action and prevent this troubling disease. I am not sure, but there is a link with the tyroid. I know when my daugher was diagnosed- and she was in deep crisis, many of her hormone values were off. With treatment they have all resloved to normal. Best of luck and good health to you both!

Nadine - posted on 09/15/2011

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My obgyn looked at my history and symptoms. She then did a blood test looking for 2 hormones that are related to each other in there rate and mine were way off from each other indicating pcos. My neice was diagnosed the same way even though we have completely different symptoms and different doctors. After looking back she is surprised I wasnt diagnosed sooner (diagnosed last year at 28) or that no one had ever considered it. We are now almost possative that my mother, grandmother and great grandmother had it. My mother is currently being tested. My sister is lucky enough not to have it. So yes the symptoms can be different for everyone and not always found in the blood work. I was simply answering her question. She said they had done blood work, xrays and an ultrasound and said she didnt have pcos but didnt know what test would have told them that. Well that answer would be the blood because you cant see it on an xray or in an ultrasound. I didnt say the test was right or wrong just thats what they would have used out of those for that. Considering mine, my nieces and a friend of mine have all been diagnosed with blood work I would say i wasnt lied too we were just lucky enough to have doctors that know what there are doing and knew which test to run and what was abnormal. Your doctor may not have ran the correct test looking at the hormones, when routine blood work is done on me I look extremely healthy also it wasnt until my obgyn ran the test looking at the specific hormones affected.

Valerie - posted on 09/14/2011

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A PCOS test can NOT be done with a simple blood test. It is considered a CLINICAL disease because everyone's symptoms are different. That is why it is better to have a specialist check her. They know more about the disease than a regular doctor does. For example with me. My doctor told me that by looking at me she could tell that I had PCOS but every blood test that they had done on me said I was healthier than most women my age. The only thing that she saw was that I had a high BP when I went in which later was proven being from Anxiety and nothing more. So she sent me to the specialist who not only diagnosed me with PCOS but also told me that I had the premarkers for the disease since I was a child AN ( ancanthenosis nigricans). Anyone who has ever told you that PCOS can be discovered by a blood test LIED to you Nadine and they need to learn more about the disease.

Nadine - posted on 09/14/2011

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The pcos test would have been done with the blood work. I did read that the dr said she didn't have it which is a good thing. I agree that the drs would not wait 6 weeks if it would hurt her or without reason but if you are unsure of what is going on or have questions they are there to tell what is going on what they are doing and why, simply ask. If you dont like their answer find another dr. good luck hope she feels better soon.

Valerie - posted on 09/13/2011

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Too much insulin in the body is a pre leading sign of diabetes and a disease in women known as PCOS, stein levinthal syndrome. My body makes to much insulin., What will happen with your daughter is she will become fat because of it. Not to sound mean but it is the truth. She will also start having dark skin spots in creased areas of her skin, arm pits, eye lids, in between her legs. This is known as ancantenosis nigercans ( i have this as well) all it is is the insulin escaping from her body, LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR!!! IF you have a doctor that actually caught this then they are a good one. I had signs and symptoms of it for years and was not diagnosed until I was 24 years old. She will be placed an a certain type of diet and if she stays with it and follows through with the medications that they have her take they can keep the disease in check. Later in life your daughter will develop diabetes, it is a give in. Being she produces too much insulin they will treat her and label her as a prediabetic. One of the medications that they will give her is called Metformin. It is a diabetes medication and it will help her body break down the food into the proper insulin and it will help her. BEing she is 17 ask your doctor about PCOS and her chances of having it. Then ask for a referral to an endocrinologist. as they are specialist who deal with diabetes and PCOS. Being that each person who has PCOS has different signs and symptoms an endo will be the only one that can actually diagnose her as having it. Good Luck.

Lisa - posted on 09/12/2011

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It is normal to wait a couple of weeks (2-4) between tests with hyperthyroidism because even slight illnesses (that you might not even notice) can skew the results. Hormonal changes can also affect the outcome; for example, I am completely stable while I am pregnant but when I am not I have to be on medicine. So the doctor is doing the right thing by retesting, although it is a longer wait than I'm used to. However, getting an appointment with an endocrinologist can take 6 MONTHS! You should see if you can go ahead with a referral NOW!

Cynthia - posted on 09/12/2011

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Wow I'm waiting to see everyones doctors degrees! :)
Interesting symptoms hope your daughter is feeling better. The best Ideas I've seen on here so far are the dietary ones while you are waiting for test results. Often tests are influenced by where one is in our cycles, estrogen and progesterone can affect test results as too can improper diet. by keeping track of her diet and her cycle for the next few months and writing it all down in a diary, then taking it to the doctor when she goes next could help the doctor with his diagnosis. Also look for any enviromental problems, some cleaning products and toothpastes affect different glands in the body. so maybe go to basic cleaning products for a few months ie vinegar, baking soda, plain dish soap, unscented fabric softener etc to reduce the toxic load on your daughters liver which detoxifies the body. These are basic things, you can do while your waiting for further test results.

Melissa - posted on 09/11/2011

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i am kind of surprised your doctor decided to wait that long for another test. If it is a thyroid or blood sugar problem it is very serious. Either way hypglacimia- sorry if its not spelled right, diabetes, they are very close with blood sugar reactions. If your blood sugar is too high or too low you can go pass out and be hospitalized. I don't know if you were told if you were told if her blood sugar was too low, however, if you were and you have decided to wait the 6 weeks, something you might want to do is have your child carry a bottle of regular coke or orange juice on her for any chance of dizziness or feeling crappy, that can pull her blood sugar up when she feels crappy. I did that when i had low blood sugar due to a medication i was on, i carried a bottle of regular coke because i worked at a daycare and my kids wouldn't steal my pop from me but would try to steal my juice.

Tania - posted on 09/11/2011

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Once you have a definate diagnosis, I would advise asking your doctor for a referral to a nutritionalist, one that specializes in diabetes or thyroidism, depending on the diagnosis. Although it may be hypoglycemia, it is still a hormonal imbalance involving the endocrine system.

Claudia - posted on 09/11/2011

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Get the thyroid under control!!! Over active, under active, either way. If it is not functioning right nothing else will either. It controls every organ in the body.
When I am off my thyroid meds for 1month that is about 28 to 31 days I will have a heart attack. It messes with my cholesterol levels and everything. Get the thyroid under control. Then test for other things. In the mean time again watch the sugar intake which is more then just how much Sugar you eat. That can't hurt you, but the thyroid will kill you if it isn't gotten under control.

Tania - posted on 09/09/2011

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Elizabeth too much insulin is NOT diabetes its hypoglycemia bbasically the opposite of diabetes.....I have been a Type 1 diabetic for almost 18 years. Sorry but I am very passionate about this desease and am frustrated with the lack of knowledge people have regarding it.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/08/2011

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She may be diabetic. Too much insulin(lowblood sugars) cause nausea,,shakiness, andsweats. Ask the Dr. to do an A1C.

Tracie - posted on 09/08/2011

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Hyperthyroidism/graves disease is easy to treat once properly diagnosed. I had it and because of am incompetent doctor I almost died. My symptoms: inability to hold down food, extreme nausea, lethargy, extreme fatigue (I could barely lift my head up from my pillow), thirsty All the time, severe weight loss, change in hair texture, severe hot flashes, developed a goiter, loose stools and a racing heart beat.

If your daughter is having most of these symptoms get her to a specialist because if she has graves it will definitely get worse.

Sharon - posted on 09/08/2011

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I know that the thyroid can through lots of things off in your body. There is a product called. ACTs. Here is the information. I am a business owner and would talk to you after you read this information:
Primary Benefits of TLS® ACTS Adrenal, Cortisol, Thyroid and Stress Support Formula:

Acts as an adaptogen, allowing a body to appropriately respond to stress placed on it
Impacts hormones affected by stress
Helps body adapt to stress
May help reduce occasional fatigue associated with stress
May help to minimize certain stress-related issues (weight gain, difficulty sleeping, etc.)
Helps to reduce stress placed on the adrenals to perform, thereby helping to decrease the possibility of adrenal fatigue
May help to support normal hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) functions
May help support normal thyroid function
Helps to promote healthy levels of cortisol
Helps maintain healthy levels of both serotonin and dopamine
Helps enhance and stabilize mood
Helps to stabilize emotional responses to stress
May help to maintain normal thyroid function
Promotes relaxation without drowsiness
Supports improved mental clarity

Patricia - posted on 09/06/2011

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Liver OK? Pancreas OK? Mystery Diagnosis showed a woman throwing up excessively. There was a stricture in her pancreatic duct. Rare. Gall bladder problem is not rare. A friend had nausea problems from an early age. In her senior years found out it was gall bladder.

Marianne - posted on 09/06/2011

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My daughter also had an xray and 2 ultrsounds as well as the blood tests. Doc said tests came back clear of PCOS. Not sure if that was through the blood tests or the scans. Will ask again when we see the doctor again.

Kimberly - posted on 09/05/2011

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These are side effects of too much calcium consumption (along with many other ailments - but not too much considered).

Debra - posted on 09/05/2011

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look up Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism...that should shed some light for you...good luck and hope she feels better soon!!

Emily - posted on 09/03/2011

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Sounds like she is Hypoglycemic to me. I am as well. People w/ normal insulin levels have a balance between sugar levels & insulin. Hyperglycemics (diabetics) have too little insulin- which is why they have to take insulin. Hypoglycemics have too much insulin, so taking insulin would obviously not help.

What I do is eat several small meals a day & carry protein bars w/ me in case I start to feel my blood sugar get too low. Just watching my food intake & making sure that I have emergency snacks on hand is all I have ever needed to to. Oh, & knowing the signs of my blood sugar levels dropping before they get too low has helped a lot as well.

HTH! :)

Valerie - posted on 09/03/2011

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google it. But your doctor needs to explain it to you. don't be afraid to ask, and if he blows you off, find another doctor.

Jj - posted on 09/03/2011

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To me and my experience any dr who says let wait 6 weeks and see what happens with out actually diagnosting the issue means they have no idea! I would go to another dr asap and get referrals to a specialist frm them like how the rest have said for endocrine... Since most insurances only cover by referral for specialist! Make sute to always check coverage because it's not cheap! But this needs to be delt with now not later! Good luck and I would be checking medical websites for symptoms that match to make sure to ask all questions about everything! Now days u have to research before seeing a dr to know how to ask right questions.

Pamela - posted on 09/03/2011

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I'm happy you have consulted a doctor. STOP STRESSING!!! If he says wait six weeks then it is likely that no emergency will occur to her body in that time.

An over-active thyroid simply means that the the growth hormones created by the thyroid are greater than your body can absorb or utilize. How this negatively affects your body I have no clue.

Why not give yopur doctor a call and discuss the metter. If your doctor is not avilable for phone consultations then fin another doctor because a doctor with the policy of "information only with an office visit" is out for your money, not to help protect your life.

Cassie - posted on 09/03/2011

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Have you ever considered or tried acupuncture? I have become a believer after having it while pregnant with my son. Now if I'm ever feeling the slightest bit "off" I wil have a session and it will Clear it right up. I prefer not to use drugs/meds whenever possible -- acupuncture hlps a lot. My mother in law is going to start it to help with her weit ght loss and to control her blood presure. You can really do it for anything and ts very effective! Good luck :)

Kristyne - posted on 09/03/2011

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HI - I used to be high insulin and had to control it by diet for a long time. Read up on hypoglycemia -it has to do with regulating blood sugar levels and keeping the insulin at a constant so you don't feel tired. Then I developed hypothyroidism and now control my energy by living a gluten free diet. There is a connection. One book I'd recommend is "Why do I still have thyroid symptoms, when my lab tests are normal?" Find a good book on hypoglycemia you like and try what they suggest. Gluten free is not hard and it is totally worth it.

Heidi - posted on 09/03/2011

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Not qualified to say but have her cortisol checked as well. At around that age I had hormone fluctuations and the doctor said my cortisol (which apparently regulates other hormones) was low. Hope she feels better and you get to the root of the problem.

Laura - posted on 09/03/2011

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Sounds kind of like hashimoto thyroiditis. You can have blood sugar issues with this and hyperthyroid/hypothyroid and feel tired.

[deleted account]

You would be better off asking your doctor to do GTT (Glucose tolerance test) to see how her sugar levels are as it seems to be heading in the direction of diabetes. Also see if your daughter is very tired, going to the toilet more frequently, thirstier than usual and if she is losing weight as these are your common diabetes symptoms. The thyroid will have something to do with it also. If she is showing these symptoms ask your doctor to run the tests before the six weeks.
I hope this has been helpful

Amelia - posted on 09/02/2011

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These symptoms do not match diabetes. My parents and husband have it. A friend of mine have hypo-thyroidism and she is always warm/hot, sort of lethargic or tired like and doesn't lose weight easily. I studied pathologies in college for massage school and I learned quite a bit. My opinion would be to let your daughters doctor do their testing and of it doesn't seem or feel right, get more opinions. You have that right. I hope I've velez. Good luck.

Sarah - posted on 09/02/2011

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I second checking out PCOS - but also celiac's disease. After going gluten-free so many things improved and celiac's disease is linked to both insulting and thyroid issues (both too much and too little of both) it's also very common, but not a lot is known about it by American Drs and so many people are misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all. Good luck.

Lucy - posted on 09/02/2011

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Go and see an endocrine specialist asap. Overactive thyroid is bad if not controlled. Too much thyroxine in the body disrupt all the body function

Dena - posted on 09/02/2011

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Well I guess my question would be: why does the doctor think anything will change in 6 weeks if nothing is being done about it? I just find that odd. Did he ask her to change anything that might change the results?

Desiree - posted on 09/02/2011

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You really should have her seen by a nutrition specialist. I had similar issues and they ended up being dietary and hormonal, switched up my diet, starting taking suppliments and i'm doing much better. Hopefully it is something simple like that but regardless as scary as diabetes and other medical possibilities sound they are all manageable nowadays. Good luck to you and your daughter.

Desiree - posted on 09/02/2011

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You really should have her seen by a nutrition specialist. I had similar issues and they ended up being dietary and hormonal, switched up my diet, starting taking suppliments and i'm doing much better. Hopefully it is something simple like that but regardless as scary as diabetes and other medical possibilities sound they are all manageable nowadays. Good luck to you and your daughter.

Tracy - posted on 09/02/2011

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A diabetic takes insulin to break down the sugars so they don't build up and get too high. If she has too much insulin then her blood sugars are probably getting too low and she needs to drink orange juice or eat a candy bar or something when she feels so tired. Somethings you could look up in hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and insulin in general.

Medic - posted on 09/02/2011

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High insulin levels is hypoglycemia and can usually be controlled by diet. You can research some good guidelines online from the mayo clinic or some other reputable source. I believe its a series of complex carbs and snacks such as fruit and crackers or whatnot. As far as the thyroid that should be controlled by meds.

Alexandra - posted on 09/02/2011

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i dont think you should wait 6 weeks! Why wait? And do nothing before then? You should probably get another opinion. This is quite serious, please get another opinion asap.

Tania - posted on 09/02/2011

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Again BTW too much insulin is not diabetes, its hypoglycemia....still not something to take lightly.

Marianne - posted on 09/02/2011

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Her sugar levels are ok. Its just her insulin that is too high. The doc definately said her thyroid is overactive. Too much insulin explains why she has been feeling nauseas and very tired and the overactive thyroid explains her feeling hot all the time. Will just have to wait for the next blood tests. Thanks very much for your comments.

Dena - posted on 09/02/2011

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I had an overactive thyroid or Graves Disease/Hyperthyroidism. The symtoms she has do not describe it at all. They are just the opposite. You feel jumpy, hyper, hungry all the time and you lose weight. Are you sure it isn’t under active? That makes more sense. Did the doctor give her meds and then go back and check after 6 weeks? If he didn’t, then go get a second opinion. And don’t mess with Diabetes. Get it under control ASAP.

Tania - posted on 09/02/2011

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Diabetes is a build up of sugar in the body not too much insulin. If she has too much insulin she may be hypoglycemic,
If it is hypoglycemic she will have to eat a diet rich in complex carbs and be sure that she eats breakfast, lunch, and supper to avoid hypo reactions.

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