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Diabetes Standards of Care and Resources for Clinicians and Educators

Distinguishing Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

While the vast majority of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients with diabetes have type 2, type 1 diabetes and its variants do occur in AI/AN patients, particularly those of mixed heritage. Type 1 diabetes must be considered in patients of any age or weight who present with a new onset of diabetes and an unclear clinical picture. This is especially true in children, even if they are overweight.

Although no test can distinguish definitively between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, several laboratory studies may be helpful when the diagnosis is not clinically clear. Providers should consider obtaining consultation if they are unfamiliar with the use of these tests or how to make a diagnosis in a complex patient.

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