July 8, 1999
Diagnosis and Symptoms
Question from Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA:
We recently admitted a nine year old new onset diabetic to our facility. Her admitting blood sugar was 323. The physician ordered an antipancreatic Islet Cell blood test which came back negative and also a serum insulin level which came back 48 (high). Please explain the significance of these tests. Any insight you can provide will be much appreciated.
The absence of islet cell antibodies does not preclude Type 1 diabetes. You haven’t stated the measurement units of the insulin level but in any case this was probably not a fasting level and was not therefore high in relation to the prevailing blood sugar. Diabetes appears when there is a relative deficiency of insulin which does not have to be absolute.