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Diabetes - determining tests

Q: What are the tests for determining whether the Diabetes is Type I or Type II?

A:There is no specific test for distinguishing Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. They are clinical types of diabetes distinguished in practice by their clinical presentations.

Type 1 diabetes always presents over days or weeks (sometimes months) with considerable thirst, frequency of passing urine and weight loss generally making a thin person even thinner. The person becomes unwell and seeks advice when they become weak and ill. It occurs most commonly in children and teenagers, although it can occur at any age whatsoever.

Type 2 diabetes generally occurs in older people usually more than 30 years old. They tend to be overweight. The presentation is much less acute although the symptoms are very similar to those experienced by Type 1 diabetic patients. Mild symptoms can be present for months or even years. Sometimes the disease is detected at a routine medical examination. It is always the doctor who first sees the patient who needs to decide which type of diabetes is present and whether insulin is needed immediately or not.

Genetics and immunological tests can be used for research and can help to distinguish the two types but they are not normally used in routine clinical practice and in any case cannot establish beyond doubt which type of diabetes is present.


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