Type 1 Diabetes – The Hope for Screening

Type 1 diabetes is hailed as the more serious type of diabetes, partly due to its status as an autoimmune disorder and to how quickly and quietly it can appear. Although uncommon, it is not unheard of for Type 1 to develop, go unchecked, and diagnosis to only come to fruition after blood sugar has reached incredible levels, and a coma is imminent.

Understandably, this possibility creates a very real need for a screening process of some kind, rather than simply waiting for symptoms to appear—sometimes after lasting damage has already been done.

The Study

Irish researchers conducted a study over a 3-year period, measuring the presence of 12-HETE (in layman’s terms, a specific hormone) in the blood of people who did not have any form of diabetes, had recently been diagnosed with Type 1, have Type 2, and whose Type 1 diagnosis had long been established. The study consistently found that 12-HETE levels were highest and most significant in the group who had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 and had not yet created a manageable routine.

People with Type 2 did not demonstrate a measurable difference in blood samples, nor did individuals who had been managing Type 1 for a prolonged period.

Implications for Future Diagnosis

The researchers spearheading the study were ecstatic over this finding, as it suggested there may be a way to screen for diabetes using elevated 12-HETE levels. Because they were not found in established cases, researchers hope to develop a screening test to determine whether or not children and young adults have an elevated hormone level, which could eventually become Type 1 diabetes.

Although testing and development are still in their infancy, the finding does provoke some hope for children at risk for developing the autoimmune disorder. The faster a diagnosis is made, the quicker families can begin treatment, learn to manage the condition, and stave off the onset of more serious, problematic complications.

The Current Landscape 

Testing is not currently available, and more funding and research are required to make definitive strides forward in diabetic screening. However, researchers are hopeful that there might not only be a screening test available, but that there is one more piece of the puzzle available for why Type 1 diabetes strikes, and how a cure might be developed.

If you suspect illness or notice the onset of diabetic symptoms in yourself or your child, don’t hesitate to call your physician; Type 1 diabetes can develop with few symptoms and can be aggravated quickly. Until screening options are created, the safest option is to receive standard tests if any diabetic symptoms, such as increased thirst and urination, occur.

[expand title=”References“]

Iris Times. Accessed 3/29/17.
HMDB. Accessed 3/29/17.


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