Screening for T1

The latest data on  universal screening for type 1 diabetes (T1D) was reviewed in a session at this year’s annual meeting of EASD in Hamburg, Germany (2-6 October).

Dr Emily K. Sims, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA, reported on research by various groups that has established that individuals with multiple islet autoantibodies (biomarkers showing that the body is attacking and killing its own insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas) have a near 100% risk of developing T1D over their lifetime.

Knowing who is likely to develop T1D will help prevent cases of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough insulin to allow blood sugar into the cells for use as energy. Instead, the liver breaks down fat for fuel, producing acids called ketones; the buildup of these ketones to dangerous levels causes DKA. These episodes can be dangerous and even fatal, causing a number of uncomfortable symptoms. The symptoms of DKA can be the first sign of T1D in people who haven’t yet been diagnosed.