By the time they are diagnosed, in patients with type 1 diabetes, blood sugar is usually prohibitively high. Therefore, they experience the following severe symptoms: unexplained weight loss, constant thirst, and frequent urination. These symptoms become much easier, if not completely, as soon as the patient begins to receive insulin shots. Read how to make insulin shots painlessly. Later, after several weeks of treating diabetes with insulin, in most patients the need for insulin is significantly reduced, sometimes almost to zero.
Blood sugar remains normal, even if insulin injections are stopped. It seems that the cure for diabetes has come. This period is called “honeymoon”. It can last for several weeks, months, and in some patients a whole year. If you treat type 1 diabetes with traditional methods, i.e., follow a “balanced” diet, the “honeymoon” inevitably ends. This happens no later than a year, and usually after 1-2 months. And start the monstrous "jumps" of blood sugar from very high to critically low.
Dr. Bernstein assures that the “honeymoon” can be stretched for a very long time, almost for life, if properly treated for type 1 diabetes. It is meant to follow a low-carbohydrate diet and prick small, accurately calculated doses of insulin.
Why does the “honeymoon” period of type 1 diabetes begin and why does it end? There is no generally accepted point of view among doctors and scientists, but there are reasonable assumptions.
Theories explaining the honeymoon in type 1 diabetes
In a healthy person, the human pancreas contains much more beta cells that produce insulin than is required to maintain normal blood sugar. If the blood sugar stays high, it means that at least 80% of the beta cells have already died. At the onset of type 1 diabetes, the remaining beta cells are weakened due to the toxic effect that high blood sugar has on them. This is called glucose toxicity. After initiation of diabetes therapy with insulin injections, these beta cells receive a “breather”, which restores insulin production. But they have to work 5 times harder than in a normal situation in order to cover the body's need for insulin.
If you eat high-carbohydrate foods, then inevitably there will be long periods of high blood sugar, which is not able to cover insulin injections and a small production of insulin of its own. It has already been accurately proven that increased blood sugar kills beta cells. After a meal that contains high-carbohydrate foods, blood sugar rises significantly. Each such episode has a harmful effect. Gradually, this effect accumulates, and the remaining beta cells eventually completely burn out.
First, the pancreatic beta cells in type 1 diabetes die as a result of attacks of the immune system. The goal of these attacks is not the entire beta cell, but only a few proteins. One of these proteins is insulin. Another specific protein that is the target of autoimmune attacks is found in granules on the surface of beta cells, in which insulin is stored “in reserve.” When type 1 diabetes began, there are no more vesicles with insulin reserves. Because all the insulin produced is consumed immediately. Thus, the intensity of autoimmune attacks decreases. This theory of the emergence of the “honeymoon” has not yet been definitively proven.
How to live?
If you correctly treat type 1 diabetes, the period of “honeymoon” can be significantly extended. Ideally - for life. To do this, you need to help your own pancreas, try to minimize the load on it. This will help low-carbohydrate diet, as well as injections of small, carefully calculated doses of insulin.
Most of the diabetics at the onset of “honeymoon” completely relaxed and hit the spree. But this should not be done. Diligently measure blood sugar several times a day and a little bit of colitis insulin to give the pancreas a rest.
There is another reason to try to keep your remaining beta cells alive. When new methods of treating diabetes really appear, such as beta-cell cloning, you will become the first candidate to use them.