Do I have any Beta cell function left

I have been wondering lately about beta cell function. I'm T2 for 20 years and on MDI's for about 9 months now and don't really know if I have any insulin production left. I know that I must cover any carbs I eat or I will go high. What do you think, have my beta cells given up the fight completely.

I don't know if the knowledge would make any difference or If I should even care but I am curious.

I've read on an endocrinologist's website that most type 2's have lost 80% of their beta cell function at the time of diagnosis. Given a few more years, and you might have lost most, if not all. Only lab tests could tell you for certain, but I do know that most type 2's eventually become insulin dependent, meaning they can't produce their own insulin anymore. This is backed up in articles written by and for endos. Sorry, I can't find the source.

I have considered asking my doctor if the blood work I have done every 4 months tests for beta cell function. I would really like to know if I am producing any insulin, and I suspect I am, and if so what percentage of function is left.

I bet that it would take a special test to find this out. If it's not too expensive, I may request it.

Ila, Your doctor wouldn't test for that unless you asked for it specifically, and had good reasons for wanting to know. You'd probably have to talk him into it. I'm pretty sure those tests are more expensive than just doing the A1c and blood glucose that they usually order.

If you eat 15 carbs on an empty stomach in the morning, and skip your insulin dose, and your blood sugar doesn't rise dramatically and stay high, then you probably have some beta cell function left.

Since both of you started insulin fairly recently, your beta function is obviously on the decline, but it takes time for it to burn out completely. If you hadn't started insulin, it would have continued to decline as your blood sugar levels rose. The toxic effect of glucose on the beta cells increases as your blood sugar goes up, and the longer it stays that way, the worse the damage becomes.

I've been on insulin for a few years now. I had to start it at diagnosis; my blood sugar was through the roof and I was terribly ill. My doc said at the time that she couldn't figure out why I was still breathing. My beta cell function was pretty far gone by that time.

Stemwinder, you started insulin recently too, so you likely have a fair amount of beta cell function left.

Of course we all know that the more careful we are to keep our levels under 170 after meals, the better off we'll be long term.

I think I may ask also. I don't know if knowing will make a difference but I would like to know. Does anyone know what kind of test is required and what is involved?

Gary S

Here's a link of the types of tests used for beta cell function, some are more accurate than others
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10480608
Here's info on the C peptide test

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/c-peptide/tab/test

When is it ordered?

C-peptide levels may be ordered when a person has been newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, as part of an evaluation of the person's "residual beta cell function." With type 2 diabetes, the test may be ordered when a doctor wants to monitor the status of a person's beta cells and insulin production over time and to determine if/when insulin injections may be required.

Essentially, this means that the test should be repeated so the decline in beta cell function can be monitored. Perhaps every couple of years would be enough.

If you just want to know where you stand now, one test should sufficient.

I'd like to have it done. My insulin needs have gone up several times in the last year and I suspect my beta cells are just about kaput!