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February 7, 2000

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Monroe, North Carolina, USA:

I am a Type�1 diabetic diagnosed when I was 21. I have three children and have been told that they are at a "slightly" increased risk of developing the disease. I know that there are antibody tests and HLA typing. Is there any treatment plan using immunosuppressants in low doses to slow the destruction of the beta cells for those that show antibody production? Should I have my children tested for antibodies?

Answer:

Yes, I would suggest doing so. If your children’s test results do show they have islet cell antibodies, you can then decide if you want to pursue further testing. But, since about 96.5% of all patients screened are negative, chances are very good that your children will be negative.

LSF