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Diabetes

Prednisone induced diabetes?

02/10/2009

Question:

I am wondering if you have been on high doses of steroids off and on for about 2 years for chrones disease should I think about getiing my blood sugar checked? I recently heard of a family friend in the same situation who passed away when his blood sugar was 700 and no idea he was diabetic but he was also on the prednisone.

Answer:

Not a bad idea.  The key is recognizing that the value may be different under different circumstances and knowing what to do with the information.  I would have a clinical laboratory blood sugar drawn after fasting overnight (no food or calories for at least 8 hours).  It is more likely to be elevated when you are taking the steroids than when not.  The higher the dose of steroid, the greater the likelihood the blood sugar will be elevated.  If it is elevated under either circumstance, then I would do a more complete evaluation for the presence of diabetes and need for treatment.  If elevated, it may be that treatment is needed all the time or that treatment is needed only when on the steroids.  Requires a more complex discussion than i can provide here.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati