Steroid induced diabetes?

I had a huge set of bloods done last week as we may now be looking at lupus as well as RA. However, one result jumped out at me - my blood glucose levels were high. Normal range is between 3.something and 6.something. Mine were 8.0 at 10.a.m. without eating anything since the previous evening. I understand that there is something called steroid-induced diabetes and, given that diabetes is rife on my maternal mothers side, could it be this developing? I had two steroid injections about 3 weeks ago and have been taking oral steroids daily since (3 tablets per day for 2 weeks, dropping to 2 tablets per day for 4 weeks) until my next rheumy appt. Have to say that since dropping to 2 tabs per day, my hands, wrists and knees are starting to seize up again, so not looking hopeful.

Anybody any experience of this type of diabetes?

8 Replies

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  • With levels that high after fasting I'd expect a definite diagnosis of Diabetes, has your GP not called you in to repeat the tests or medicate?

    I also wonder why are you having steroid injections and taking oral? A side effect of oral steroids can be a worsening of diabetes.

    Could injections and oral steroid use not be causing an overload of steroids in your system?

    Sorry for so many questions.

    Beth x

  • Steroids can create insulin resistance which makes it harder for your own insulin to do its job. You may find it improves as your steroid dose comes down but you probably need to discuss the results with the doc.

  • Like Beth I think it's odd that no-one's mentioned it. can you get an appt with your GP to discuss it soon? I don't know anything about diabetes, so can't offer any experience, but just wanted to wish you well with finding out about it. Any sympathise if you have lupus on top of RA as v sorry to hear that. Good luck. Polly

  • Thanks for the replies guys. I collected a copy of the results from my local GP and the secretary said that the doc had looked at them and would write to me if he wanted to see me. It's only because I know my results inside out that I noticed the glucose levels. I'm very surprised that he hasn't contacted me and will call the surgery first thing tomrrow morning. I'm wondering, since I'm also under the rheumy consultant, whether doc is expecting consultant to discuss or whether cons is expecting doc to discuss!!!!

    As to the steroids, I had an injection in each thigh about a month ago, but the relief only lasted 10 days after which I was in the most pain I have ever experienced since diagnosis. Had an emergency appt with the rheumy nurse who called the consultant in straight away. Apparently I also have Livedo Reticularis (inflammation of the blood vessels) - a lovely purple rash all over my lower legs (think I posted about it somewhere on here). Anyway, cons. said give two more injections into the derriere this time. Also started an oral course of tabs reducing after two weeks to the level I am on now. Hence, steroid overload.....

    Given the family history of diabetes I am now fairly certain that diabetes is on the cards.

    The day after I received the results, I was telling a colleague at school about the glucose level as I know she has a daughter with diabetes. She went to get her daughter's testing kit and did me a 'finger prick' test. At 08.45 a.m. (and again with no breakfast - I don't have time!!!) the level was 7.4.

    Hmmmmm - I feel a call to the rheumy nurse and an appt with the doc coming on.........

  • Lillibet you have my sympathy - it all sounds like hard going to me with the blood vessels, the RA, the possible lupus and now the diabetes - a fest of autoimmune conditions poor you. Was your mother's type diabetes 1 or 2 I wonder? I have type 2 in every generation of my father's family as far back as we've records for and was tested last year along with the RA tests and was marginal on the glucose levels. So they did a fasting diabetes test over a morning and the results came back fine. Since then I've lost a lot of weight, mainly because I really am trying to keep the inevitable type 2 diabetes away and I've heard you can almost cure yourself from it in the early stages through rigorous diet and exercise. My GP did say they should start testing me annually for it given the family history and I think my autoimmune pattern has come from my dad and his predescessors so I can only try my hardest to break the mold in this respect.

    Please do contact your GP and rheumy nurse first thing. I find it's necessary to be really pushy with all of the medical people who are responsible for my health because otherwise nothing gets done for ages and it's probably the same for you. We have to join up the dots for people since they can't seem to find the time to join them up for us?! Good luck and let us know what the conclusion is please. Tilda xx

  • That glucose reading is high make a Gp appointment soon as suggested by Helix(polly) x

  • Morning guys!

    Managed to get a 'gold dust' appt. this a.m. at 9.40. Will keep you posted......

  • Ok, saw doc this a.m. Described symptoms (dizzy, shaking, short of breath etc.) and pointed out high glucose levels. Also reminded him that diabetes and pernicious anemia (sp?) runs in the family.

    Cue doc intake of breath and shaking of head. Hmmmm. Almost certainly diabetes!! Luckily I checked my bloods then!!!!!!

    I've got to go for a fasting blood test tomorrow morning to test for diabetes and B12 deficiency.

    Again, will keep you posted....

    Liz

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