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Endocrine System

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Endocrine System Symptoms

Insulin Resistance

In myotonic dystrophy patients, insulin-stimulated uptake of glucose is reduced due to insulin receptor deficiencies. To compensate for suppressed responsiveness (insulin resistance), insulin secretion may be increased. Elevated levels of circulating insulin, increased serum glucose, and dyslipidaemia may be present. Although diabetic symptoms may be seen, the insulin resistance issues tend to be mild and rarely result in full diabetes in DM1. The prevalence of diabetes is greater in DM2.

Frontal Balding

Premature male-pattern frontal balding is seen in both DM1 and DM2.

Endocrine System Diagnosis

Insulin Resistance

Diagnosis of insulin resistance in individuals with myotonic dystrophy typically involves blood tests that measure:

  • Fasting serum insulin levels
  • Fasting serum glucose concentration
  • Fasting serum glycosylated hemoglobin concentration

Endocrine System Treatment

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance can be managed in the following ways:

  • Lifestyle changes: The need for insulin can be reduced by modifying lifestyle (eg. exerccise, balanced diet, removal of majority of sugar from the diet).
  • Medications: Blood glucose and insulin levels can be normalized by drugs that either prevent the liver from releasing glucose into the blood or increase the sensitivity of muscle and fat cells to insulin. 


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