Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive


My son was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He is a skinny 50 lb 10 year old. He was diagnosed with glucose numbers at around 200. Is there a test to see what percent of his insulin production is left and whether it is still under attack? We put him on a low carb diet and he's been keeping the numbers under 145 and usually around 90-100. We're a bit confused as they're not sure where in the progression he is at. Whether his pancreas is still under attack or was hit with something and now is ok, but leaving a damaged organ. The doctor has said we don't need to test but when he's sick or a few times a week.

The test that can measure the degree of insulin production from the beta cells of the pancreas is called a C-Peptide test. It could be that your son is currently in the Honeymoon Phase--that period of insulin output by the pancreas that precedes the "death" of those same cells. If your son is currently not on insulin, this is probably the case. More uncommonly, one so young who is diagnosed is what we call a MODY (Mature Onset of Diabetes in Youth). These individuals still have insulin production, but resistance at some level. Without more specific information on your son's history and management, it is difficult to advise further. Do make your concerns clearly known to your practitioner, and do get answers to your questions. Seek referral to a diabetes specialist if you feel you are not getting sufficient guidance.

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