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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Insulin-Induced Edema in a Patient with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual or unexpected effect of treatment, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Unexpected drug reaction , Rare disease, Clinical situation which can not be reproduced for ethical reasons

Mohammed E. Elmahal, Mahmoud M. Ramadan

United Arab Emirates Department of Internal Medicine, Masafi Hospital, Fujairah Medical District, Ministry of Health, Masafi, United Arab Emirates

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e931960

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.931960

Available online: 2021-08-06

Published: 2021-09-19


BACKGROUND: The strong association between type 2 diabetes and obesity has been well recognized. Insulin treatment is usually needed at some point in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity to achieve the targeted glycemic control goal.
CASE REPORT: A 35-year-old woman who had gastric banding for morbid obesity 1 year prior presented to the outpatient clinic with recent onset of shortness of breath and bilateral ankle edema, which were thought to be of cardiac origin. Band slippage occurred a few months after the procedure, and the patient gained weight rapidly thereafter. She had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus 8 years earlier, which was treated with oral hypoglycemic medication. Thyroid function tests done 4 months prior to her current presentation revealed normal results. A cardiac assessment showed normal cardiac function with no evidence of heart failure. Repeated thyroid function testing showed new-onset subclinical hypothyroidism. The patient had started insulin therapy 2 weeks before her current presentation, which was probably the main cause of her edema. While continuing insulin, the patient’s general condition improved with diuretics therapy, following which she had gastric bypass surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: Insulin-induced edema is an under-diagnosed problem. It should be considered whenever a patient with uncontrolled diabetes develops rapid body swelling after initiation of insulin therapy. Rigorous research is needed to explore the pathophysiology, prevalence, and treatment of insulin-induced edema.

Keywords: Bariatric Surgery, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Edema