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Tests & Procedures



Diabetes Autoantibody Panel

Diabetes Autoantibody Panel

Does this test have other names?

Islet autoantibodies, diabetes mellitus autoantibody panel, islet cell cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ICA), glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA), insulinoma-associated-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A), insulin autoantibodies (IAA)

What is this test?

This blood test checks for substances called antibodies, which are produced in response to insulin and other chemicals related to insulin. It is used to find out whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children and teens, and type 2 diabetes is more common in adults.

Among the antibodies tested for are:

  • Islet cell cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ICA)

  • Glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA)

  • Insulinoma-associated-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A)

  • Insulin autoantibodies (IAA)

If some combination of these antibodies is present in high levels, it could mean you have type 1 diabetes or are at risk of developing it. These antibodies often appear years before symptoms begin, so this test is useful if you have a family history of type 1 diabetes.

Because people with type 2 diabetes don't have these antibodies, the test is also useful to tell one type of diabetes from the other.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this blood test to confirm that you have type 1 diabetes. It is also used to test for an allergy to insulin.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

The diabetes antibody panel is just one test used to check for type 1 diabetes. Your doctor may also order a C-peptide test or an insulin assay test.

Before having a diabetes antibody panel to find out if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may have a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test. A fasting plasma glucose test is a blood test done after you fast for eight hours. In an oral glucose tolerance test, your blood is checked after you fast for a certain period and then drink a sugary solution.

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.

In general, if the antibodies are present, you could have type 1 diabetes or be at risk of developing it. If no antibodies are present, you might have type 2 diabetes.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

Taking insulin before the test will prevent an accurate result.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. Be sure your doctor knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use. 

 
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