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Hey folks, I was actually just wondering.


How long can a type 1 diabetic go without any insulin at all?

I got diagnosed like 6 weeks ago, and have been taking my insulin ever day since then.

But I been a little depressed lately, and just haven't taken any insulin at all today.

And this got me wondering, how long could one last without insulin??


I know before I was diagnosed, I think I was diabetic for a while, until I eventually went into ketoacidosis and found out I'm a type 1. but does that mean before I DKAed my pancreas was dying?? and it finally quit on me when I went to the hospital. or was it straight up dead a while ago, and I just went into DKA??

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Tags: 1, DKA, diabetes, insulin, type

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Hey Johnny I was Diagnosed in March of this year T1 in honeymoon stage ( pancreas still making isulin) ,I was taking shots but now on the pump. They told me that the longest I can go with out insulin is two hours.

Good luck welcome to the family

If you don't eat anything and only drink water you might make it a week but that would about it. If you eat anything a couple days and you will be out cold.
Well, I e.g. can't!

Even if it's just 1 or 2 units, if I skip my basal (not even purposely, a heavy delay is enough) my bg goes up withing a few hours. Significantly. It stays where it is or even gets lower WITH those 1-2U.

How long a person is able to *live* without insulin (or without going into DKA) depends very much on their insulin sensitivity and if thy are honeymooning or not.

So, @ Johnny, please don't stop taking your insulin! No wild experimenting - you do need it, and you might notice that too late. What you'll have to understand: With diabetes, you won't immediately pass out if you're lacking insulin but that doesn't mean everything's alright.
answer for #1 The dr.s told me I was getting sick for a couple of years. You start going into DKA when you have less than 10% of your beta cells. Please start your insulin, at least test your blood sugar a lot. Mind you they have shown that some type1's keep making beta cells and they keep getting destroyed. I know for me that still once in a while I start going low and can stop my insulin for a couple of days before my bs starts to climb again!! I am a little different as I was dx'ed 2 years ago at age 52.
It took me about 32 hours to go into and through DKA and into a Coma. Bad way to go. I forgot my Insilin except I had basal in me from the night before.
I should add, when I described this incident, I had already been a Diabetic for 16 years.
I was diagnosed as an adult too. And I was crushed by the diagnosis. I still produced some insulin for more than a year and am now on a pump. It's easy to say not to get overwhelmed because it can be really difficult to adjust. Even now I'm sometimes momentarily overcome with all the issues of living with diabetes.
BUT I've found that my blood sugar is normally really high when I start to feel down. Test it out and see what your BG readings are when you're not feeling yourself. Hang in there; take care of yourself.
Johnny....Please dont go without your insulins.....you dont want to find out what could happen to you. You are worth taking care of yourself and LIVING!!! You live near me....can I help in anyway? Robyn
I think it depends on the person. I'm fairly sure I started getting sick about 2 years before I was diagnosed. During that time I was napping when I wasn't working or in school, had terrible heartburn all the time, and drank probably 3 gallons of water a day. My bg was 40 mmol when I checked into the hospital, but wasn't feeling sick because my body had slowly adjusted. Now, If I'm above 15 I can barely stay awake. Also, if I stopped taking my basel I would probably shoot up to 20 over night. So I must have had some working cells left back then.
So, you might be able to barely survive for a short period or for awhile depending on what your pancreas is doing.
Honestly, as someone who has never been in DKA, I imagine that it takes quite a long time to GET to that point.. it can begin to happen within a matter of hours, but the full effect would probably take much longer than that.

It's going to vary for everyone, based on how much residual beta cell function you have. Some people probably have enough that it would really take a lot of things going wrong to send them into DKA, while others may be much more sensitive to it.

I went about two months without insulin after the birth of my first child (after using insulin for almost 6 months) - mostly due to being mismanaged by medical "professionals" following his birth. No one knew I was a T1 and that I needed insulin... so of course they didn't tell me to take it, in fact everyone told me to stop testing entirely after my pregnancy, since my #'s had returned to "normal" at the hospital (which happened with my next two kids as well, I needed next to no insulin right after they were born, but it absolutely didn't mean that I was "cured"). I failed the follow-up GTT, which is how they knew I was still diabetic. It took another several months of dealing with an idiot of a doctor (convinced I was T2 and did not "need" insulin) to finally get a T1 diagnosis (based on antibody testing) and know for certain that I needed insulin, but I had been self-medicating for a while before that.

I will admit though, that there have been MANY days in the past 10 years where I've had a "I hate everything" day and I haven't taken much of any bolus insulin. In those cases I've always had basal insulin on board, and I end up playign "catch up" at the end of the day and correcting the high (mostly so I'm not up all night peeing). I'm not suggesting that doing that is a good idea, but I just wanted to let you know that you are NOT alone, and it's something that we all deal with at some point.

You might consider going to a counselor to work out why you feel the way you do - you might find that you feel a lot better for it. If there is a certain aspect about your D management that you can change, that would make a difference for you, that is also something you can bring up with your doctors.

I was also diagnosed as a young adult, and I honestly think that being diagnosed at that age is a little harder than any other - you're still figuring out who you are and what you want out of life, and you are suddenly thrown a giant curve ball, and it's not fair... not that it's fair at any other age, but I do think it's probably easier to adapt if you are younger, or just a bit older. You WILL get through this though... just remember that you're not alone, and if the rest of us could do it, you can too :)
My endo said I probably had high BG for 4-5 years before crashing & burning with DKA & officially being diagnosed T1.

The more consistently high we are, the more beta cells are burned out, aside from the other damage that can occur. So, not good to skip insulin.
very true




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