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Screening for Addison's disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and recurrent hypoglycaemia.

BACKGROUND: Addison's disease may present with recurrent hypoglycaemia in subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus. There are no data, however, on the prevalence of Addison's disease presenting with recurrent hypoglycaemia in patients with diabetes mellitus.

METHODS: Three year retrospective study of diabetic patients with "unexplained" recurrent hypoglycaemia investigated with a short Synacthen test to exclude adrenocortical insufficiency.

RESULTS: 95 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus were studied. Addison's disease was identified as the cause of recurrent hypoglycaemia in one patient with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

CONCLUSION: Addison's disease is a relatively rare but remedial cause of recurrent hypoglycaemia in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. A low threshold for investigating patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and recurrent hypoglycaemia to detect Addison's disease is therefore suggested.

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