I am a Type 1 diabetic and also suffer from Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency. Life has become Hell. I am on CREON to digest my food. Why is more information not mentioned about this problem that Type 1 diabetics suffer? My father suffered the same problems and it was on his Death Certificate. WE NEED HELP!
Q: I am a Type 1 diabetic and also suffer from Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency. Life has become Hell. I am on CREON to digest my food. Why is more information not mentioned about this problem that Type 1 diabetics suffer? My father suffered the same problems and it was on his Death Certificate.
I am very sorry that you are struggling with pancreatic enzyme insufficiency. It is indeed a fairly common complication among those with diabetes. In fact, a 2003 study of more than 1,000 people found that between 25-50% of type 1 diabetic adults had pancreatic enzyme insufficiency. People with type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk for this condition. Groups at extremely high risk are those with chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis.
The pancreas produces endocrine hormones that control blood sugar (insulin and glucagon) and exocrine enzymes that digest protein, carbohydrates and fat.
If your pancreas doesn't produce enough of the enzymes needed to digest your food, you may experience poor appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and have difficulty controlling your blood sugar. Taking enzymes like Creon is required in order to properly digest and absorb food.
At this time, it is unclear why people with diabetes are at increased risk for pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, but some experts believe it is part of the autoimmune process. In addition, it's believed that either condition can lead to the other; diabetes can be caused by insufficient pancreatic enzyme production, and insufficient pancreatic enzyme production can lead to diabetes.
Hopefully, researchers will find a way to help prevent pancreatic enzyme insufficiency in the near future. Currently, taking pancreatic enzymes at meals is the only treatment available for those who suffer from this condition.
Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.
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