Screening for Type One Diabetes in Australian Adolescents

Screening for Type One Diabetes in Australian Adolescents

Did you know Australia now has the facilities and research to screen adolescents and young adults for early identification of type 1 diabetes?

Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes typically arises after the onset of the classic symptoms; constant thirst, increased urination, irritability and weight loss.

What many don’t realise is that there were already chemical markers indicating this prior to the onset of symptoms. For some this may be a few months, others years. These chemical markers are called islet autoantibodies, and people with two or more of these are considered to be in the first stage of type 1 diabetes.

What benefits comes with being screened?

So many!

  • Numerous clinical trials exist and continue to advance for people developing type 1 diabetes. Some of these trials aim to prevent or delay the onset; so if you or a loved one is found to have islet autoantibodies, you will have the opportunity to participate in these.
  • Many people developing symptoms of diabetes experience ketoacidosis - which is a dangerous level of acids in the blood. Screening may prevent initial illness caused by the onset of symptoms.
  • It could eventually help us prevent T1D altogether. Preventative medications that are in current testing have been found to be more effective at the earliest stage of type 1 diabetes - before one’s immune cells are too damaged. Being screened means that you have the best chance to catch it early and begin preventative treatments.

What’s involved?

To be screened for diabetes, all that is required of you is to fulfil the existing criteria and have a blood test. It can take up to 2 months for the laboratory to test the blood for the diabetes antibodies, and if any are identified, a second blood collection will be requested to confirm.

How I can have a loved one screened:

At the moment, Type1Screen has made this testing available to residents of Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 2 and 30, with a relative diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or a previously positive antibody test.

To participate, head to the Type1Screen website, become familiar with the information and process and then sign and send back the consent form to the email provided. Once the team has received your form, they will send you a survey. Following this, they will refer you for a blood test at your local pathology clinic.