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September 14, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Alexandria, Kentucky, USA:

What do the antibody tests determine? Can you still be type 1 if the antibody test was negative?


A positive antibody test in someone who is insulin dependent, or who has been shown genetically to be at high risk of diabetes, confirms that the autoimmune process has begun. If someone is antibody negative at the time they start to need insulin, they would be classified as Type�1B. About 5% of Caucasian children present in this way, but just over 50% of new onset cases in African American and Hispanic children fall into this category. The distinction has some importance because many of the type 1B’s can be managed without insulin after a few weeks, at least for a number of years.