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March 31, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Virginia, USA:

My son was diagnosed almost a year ago with diabetes. His sugar level was 350. The doctor didn't know if he was type 1 or 2. It has been 11 months now, and he is on diet and exercise only. He is 13 years old and was overweight but with the diet, he loses about 2 pounds a month. His A1c test ranges from 5.7 to 6.3. Are these ranges high? It seems I am having to learn every thing here on this diabetes center for I don't get anything from the doctor except that time will tell if it is type 1or 2. He has no ketones. He did have just a trace of antibodies. If you could give me an opinion, I would appreciate it. He seems to be doing well on the diet and exercise but its just every day of wakening up and wandering if it is going to last.

Answer:

By far the most common form of diabetes in Caucasian children in North America is Type�1A or autoimmune diabetes. This can be confirmed by an antibody test. Telephone numbers to call for practical details are 1-800-425-8361 or Quest Laboratories at 949-728-4235.Your son might still be in what is called the honeymoon period during which there is a temporary restoration of insulin secretion. In Latino or African American children, over half of new onset cases are antibody negative, however, and this is now called Type�1B diabetes; the exact cause is not yet defined although some have chromosomal abnormalities. Also in about half the cases, insulin can be discontinued at least for a time. It is also possible that your son has one of the several forms of Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young (MODY) which do not usually require insulin initially and are often linked to obesity. Whatever the diagnosis, the control of blood sugar is much more important than an exact diagnosis; in your son’s case this would seem to be excellent as judged by his A1c tests.

DOB