The asymptomatic phase of type 1 diabetes is recognised by the presence of beta cell autoantibodies in the absence of hyperglycaemia. We propose that an accurate description of this stage is provided by the name 'Autoimmune Beta Cell Disorder' (ABCD). Specifically, we suggest that this nomenclature and diagnosis will, in a proactive manner, shift the paradigm towards type 1 diabetes being first and foremost an immune-mediated disease and only later a metabolic disease, presaging more active therapeutic intervention in the asymptomatic stage of disease, before end-stage beta cell failure. Furthermore, we argue that accepting ABCD as a diagnosis will be critical in order to accelerate pharmaceutical, academic and public activities leading to clinical trials that could reverse beta cell autoimmunity and halt progression to symptomatic insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes. We recognize that there are both opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the ABCD concept but hope that the notion of 'asymptomatic autoimmune disease' as a disorder will be widely discussed and eventually accepted.
Keywords: Autoimmunity; Beta cell; Diabetes; Disease classification.