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June 22, 2009

Daily Care, Honeymoon

Question from British Columbia, Canada:

On your web site, you state, "The honeymoon period can last YEARS." Is this accurate? Very soon after his diagnosis with type 1, my son's blood sugars were corrected very quickly (over a period of six to eight weeks). He is now into the so-called honeymoon period. I have him down to as little as 0.5 units of NovoRapid and five units of NPH, half his initial evening dose. His blood sugars remain at a normal person's level as long as he does not eat a high carbohydrate meal. He is a very healthy eater, does not miss candy and seems to be adjusting naturally to his diet. What I mean by that is that he doesn't like certain things anymore, such as meat, fish, heavy foods, etc. and seems to be gravitating to more of a raw food diet. He wants salads, fruits, grains. So, if we keep him on this sort of diet and low insulin amounts, will this prolong the honeymoon period? After the good bit of reading I've done, it seems that the islets (what's left of them) are trying to survive/regroup. My goal is to reduce the need for some daytime injections. I recently was able to eliminate his noon and dinner injections with no spikes in blood sugar levels. I know he needs some to give the remaining islets some support.

Answer:

Most honeymoon periods after diagnosis in children last about three to six months. The younger the child, the shorter the duration of honeymooning, in general. Teens and young adults seem to have more insulin production/islet cell function possibly perhaps having a different type of tempo of their autoimmune diabetes. Each person is an individual so it is easy to know what has happened after it is done but more difficult to predict. The better the glucose control, the more “rest” to the damaged islets, the better the chances of honeymooning and for a long time period. The fewer carbohydrates of any source, it is likely less insulin is needed and so this may also be tempting to consider, if possible.

SB