From Austin, Texas, USA:
My three year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six weeks ago, and the doctor told me yesterday that he had negative antibodies. Does this mean his diabetes will be different from other kids with type 1? The doctor said most children with type 1 diabetes are positive for antibodies.
Typeá1A (autoimmune) represents the majority of kids with typeá1 diabetes. These children will have positive antibodies in nearly 90% of cases. A negative antibody test does not rule out this form of diabetes -- but is simply not helpful. Unless your child is likely to have the much less common variant of type 1 diabetes called typeá1B diabetes.
A negative antibody test is not likely to affect his treatment at all. Your physician should be able to help you distinguish which form of diabetes your son has and clarify his treatment for you.
Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:There are three main pancreatic antibodies that are often screened when assessing type I diabetes, and different labs measure them differently. Not all doctors will screen for all three, because it is not always cost effective. One antibody is called GAD-65; another is called ICA-512 (also called tyrosine kinase); and another is antibodies to insulin itself. The GAD-65 is the most common and probably the sensitive and this is the one most often measured. However, some studies suggest that in younger children (generally under age two), this antibody is negative and the antibodies to insulin are sometimes higher.
I am not certain it is imperative to measure the other antibodies in your child, but you and your son's doctor might consider these other tests if you desire.
Original posting 13 Apr 2001
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:20
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