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July 11, 1999

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Sterling, Virginia, USA:

My 2 1/2 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 a month ago. He is currently in the honeymoon phase and is receiving 1 unit of Lente every A.M. Other than drawing blood for Islet Cell Antibodies, how can you differentiate between Type 1A and Type 1B? It seems he could be managed without insulin but I realize the theory that insulin preserves remaining beta cells, but I wonder if possibly he is 1B instead. He is Caucasian and I also realize 1B is not as common in Caucasians.

Answer:

If the antibodies are positive, then it’s definitely Type 1A, which is statistically the most likely bet in a child of this age and race anyway. The chances of Type 1B are small.

It really doesn’t matter; preserving the islet cells applies to both groups.

LD