Metabolic Syndrome! High Insulin???

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1325
   Posted 1/24/2010 5:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I usually post on ostomies for me, but thought I would come to you guys for your opinions on my daughter. I have a 14 year old daughter that is 5"7"" and 255lbs. Yes, grossly obese. She has normal blood work, except for the insulin level, which is extremely high. She does not have diabetes. The pediatrician tried glucophage, but she had horrible stomach pain and constipation from it, so the doctor discontinued it. I am at my whits end about what to do about this. I asked for a referral to an endocronologist, but the pediatrician said that was not warranted yet. I think it is warranted, but what can I do? The doctor said she needs to eat less and move more...DUH! I know this. Has anyone ever heard of high insulin levels and no diabetes??? Won't her pancreas eventually poop out excreting insulin like that? She also has an extreme form of constipation, likely colonic inertia, which is what I have. I was thinking she may need to see a bariatric surgeon and have a lap band to try to get her to lose weight. Me and her dad are normal weight and she is 1 of 4 children, who also have normal weights. What would cause a child to get so grossly overweight and have high insulin levels?

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 173
   Posted 1/24/2010 6:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm assuming all thyroid issues have been ruled out?

I would highly recommend the books Life Without Bread (easier reading) and Good Calories Bad Calories (a little on the dry, scientific side). Both address obesity and their belief that abnormal insulin levels and elevated blood glucose are the root cause of obesity. What does your daughter eat? I would try to eliminate ALL refined carbohydrate and anything with a high glycemic index (which includes many fruits) with a corresponding increase in protein and fat (less on the fat side). If you and your family can totally commit totally to this for about a month, I would be very surprised if you did not see positive results. I would not even worry about calories at first. Have her eat to satiety, but absolutely no simple carbs or high glycemic index foods.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am biased for the Paleo-type diet, not only for my Crohn's but also for health in general. Diet can be controversial with some folks holding hard to their beliefs. I'm not a doctor (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night), but I do teach exercise physiology at the United States Military Academy at West Point so I'm not a complete moron either, but my wife might disagree.

Hope you experience some results!!
"What can't be changed must be endured" - unknown

DX with distal Crohn's colitis Oct 2007, predominantly in rectum
Colozal (750mg): 3 pills 3xdaily
Cortifoam - 1 nightly
6MP - currently at 100mg and waiting for response......

Lanie G
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Date Joined Nov 2006
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   Posted 1/24/2010 6:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Answers4me, if she were my child, I'd change doctors.  She needs to be re-evaluated, maybe have more tests.  First, as you realize, that much weight is hurting her (both physically and emotionally I would think).  What kinds of food do you eat in the house everyday?  Does she eat a lot of refined carbs, that is, bread and bread products, snack food like chips and crackers, cereal, potatoes, food containing sugar and flour?  Sometimes the pancreas will naturally produce insulin at high levels when  the person ingests too many carbs.  And if that person isn't active, then the body will store this as fat.  So, I would make sure she's eating lots of fresh vegetables (no potatoes) with a portion of protein (meat, chicken, fish), salad.  Have nuts and cheese on hand for snacks.  This is one way you and she can immediately get control of part of this.  Yes, her pancreas can "give up" or burn out and stop producing insulin needed.  But back to the first problem and that is to have a doctor evaluate her correctly.  Seems to me an endocrinologist would be the doctor to see.  Good luck and let us know what happens.
forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by exercise and a low/no carb diet

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1325
   Posted 1/24/2010 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
She just eats ALOT of any food. She acts like she is starving and has ever since she was little. She eats alot at meals and will also snack. It is almost like she is obsessed with food, BUT, my friend who is a dietician said she IS hungry because the insulin brings the blood sugar levels too low and she needs to eat to bring the blood sugars back up and this turns into a viscious cycle! Have ya'll ever heard of this?

I will increase her protein and try to get her to eat less starches and carbs which we are all addicted to. I have a PPO, so I may just look up an endocronologist on our plan. I assume she would need to see a pediatric endocronologist since she is still a child in a grown-ups body.

One other thing...I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with her...could this of caused this metabolic disorder? Just a thought that I had?????

Thanks to all who have posted! As far as her thyroid, I assume it is normal???? They are supposed to send me a copy of the bloodwork that she just had last week and I will look. I am not sure they tested her thyroid though.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 1/24/2010 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Diabetes is characterized as a condition where the body has too much "sugar" in the blood. If your daughters blood glucose levels are normal then she doesn't have diabetes, yet, she is however likely setting herself up for type 2 diabetes some where down the line. Very high levels of insulin can lead to a person's body becoming insulin resistant, and it is possible this is already happening, hence the excess insulin. It is also possible, depending on your daughter's diet she may be producing a lot more insulin to try to handle an over abundance of carbs and calories in general.

As far as the "Why" of it all goes it could be one of many things or a combination of several different things ranging from a medical condition(s) to psychiatric ones.

If it were my child I would start with the following specialists:

Gastrointestinal (GI)

If her primary care physician is not willing to help you get into these specialists, assuming you need a referral, then your first stop will have to be a new one. At 14 you may even want to consider skipping the pediatric doctors and find a General Practitioner (Family Doctor) or an Internal Medicine Doctor.

In the meantime I would take a good look at her diet and do something about that as well as getting her up and moving. If financially possible enroll her in a gym, take her to aerobics class, or Karate class or something where she can move. Even if her condition is 100% medical in nature and the exercise would do nothing for her weight it will still be good for her cardio systems.

As a final note about diet. Be sure to watch the kinds of Fats she is taking in. Make sure they are low in cholesterol and high in the "Good" fats. Something tells me your daughter may be prone to cholesterol issues later in life even though she isn't now.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 1/24/2010 7:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with most of what was posted, especially the part about getting a new doctor! If you had a car getting only 5 miles to the gallon and the mechanic told you to just drive better you would find another mechanic.

This is your precious daughter and her weight isn't just affecting her health but her social life as well. Dump the moron you've been working with and find someone who will treat her, body and mind, preferably a female gynecologist. She's too old for your pediatrician anyway (and it's probably a man with high metabolism who has never had a day of being overweight in his life!) (Jeannie walks away grumbling about unfeeling doctors!)
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1325
   Posted 1/24/2010 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
You guys have been super and thank you for such quick responses. I love healingwell. wink
I am going to find an endocronologist to take her to that is on my insurance plan. It is just so shocking that her pediatrician acts like this weight issue is not a big deal...because IT IS! How can you look at a child that weighs over 250lbs and not want to help me do anything to help her? She said I am looking for a "miracle" and there is no miracle cure for obesity. I told her, "I know there is no miracle cure", but I still think that a specialist that deals with blood sugars and weight is who she needs to see. Again, I will get those 2 books....I am going to order them Friday. Thanks again, Tracy

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 1/25/2010 6:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Good going!  Keep us posted..  I would recommend the Life Without Bread first... It's not only easier reading but more concise. The other book is also a great book but VERY THICK!! 

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 1/27/2010 11:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I would strongly suggest getting the Endo. If you need your doc's referral... insist on it. They specialize in metabolism and the lovely endocrine system with all its numerous hormones :-) A Dietician should also be recommended - if not by your doc then the Endo will for sure. The first tests he'll run will be on her thryroid (blood tests).

Sorry, but one A1C test or fasting test does not a diagnosis make (for or against). What was the number anyway? I'm curious what your (questionable) doctor has determined is "normal". That her insulin levels are "extremely high", might suggest that her pancreas is working overtime to keep up with demand. This alone should warrant further BGL testing (i.e. random, fasting, postprandial, during the night). If her pancreas is working overtime so much, diabetes will eventually be guaranteed.

I might ask what she so voraciously eats? High carb foods can create that kind of vicious circle, especially when malfunctioning metabolisms are involved. She's got to get the weight down and it starts with what goes in her mouth. If her thyroid is off, this will also be a contributing factor to the weight.

Good luck and keep us posted.
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)
"What's Not Measured Is Not Managed"

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows"-Epictetus

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