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Question:

From Dubuque, Iowa, USA:

What is a Type 1 diabetic "honeymoon period?" How long does it usually last?

Answer:

The honeymoon period usually refers to a period of decreased insulin requirements shortly after starting insulin therapy in most cases of Type 1 diabetes mellitus. In these cases there is some restoration of insulin production and the blood sugar levels improve to normal, or near-normal, levels. Unfortunately, like other honeymoons, there is a great variability in its duration and sometimes it doesn't seem to appear at all (as in small children) or it may lasts for weeks, months, or occasionally (particularly in older patients) even years. The variability is understandable if you consider how long it normally takes for the immunological process that destroy beta cells of the pancreas to reach the stage of clinical diabetes (so called pre-IDDM phase).

In the past, there were often pressures to discontinue insulin in some instances or to go tablets whilst nowadays we know it is important to keep on with insulin, however small the dose, both for immunological reasons as well as to prevent false hopes of a cure and to prevent the risk of triggering insulin allergy and/or resistance. Moreover, this approach can extend the honeymoon phase, thus increasing the chances of continued prolonged production of small amounts of endogenous insulin lasting perhaps for several years with small insulin dose requirements and better metabolic control.

MS

Original posting 13 Jul 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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