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Many more people may be at risk for receiving blood test results that reveal they have type 1 diabetes than previously thought. A new study from the National Institutes of Health indicates that a high percentage of the population has immune system dysfunction that put them at risk for autoimmune disorders.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Proteins called antinuclear antibodies are responsible for providing the instructions to the immune system that cause it to attack healthy tissue.
The survey of national health data conducted in the present study revealed that 32 million Americans have antinuclear antibodies that could cause their immune system to attack healthy tissue, potentially resulting in type 1 diabetes, lupus, arthritis or a range of other autoimmune conditions.
The researchers said no other investigation has revealed such high numbers of people affected by the immune system disorder.
Findings from the study indicate that more individuals may benefit from talking to their doctor about blood testing that may reveal either immune system dysfunctions or specific conditions like diabetes.
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