Who Should Get Screened for Type 1 / Type 2 Diabetes?
People who have a family member with type 1 diabetes should be screened for type 1. Also, people who have a family history of any of a variety of autoimmune diseases may consider being screened for type 1 diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, screening for pre-diabetes or type 2 is recommended for:
People who are living with overweight or obesity (BMI ?25 kg/m2 or ?23 kg/m2 in Asian American individuals) and have one or more of the following risk factors:
Other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance (e.g., severe obesity, acanthosis nigricans)
People with prediabetes (A1C ?5.7% [39 mmol/mol], Impaired Glucose Tolerance, or Impaired Fasting Glucose) should be tested yearly.
People who were diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes should have lifelong testing at least every 3 years.
For all other people, testing should begin at the age of 35 years.
If results are normal, testing should be repeated at a minimum of 3-year intervals, with consideration of more frequent testing depending on initial results and risk status.
People with HIV.
What it is, what it isn’t:
> What it is: A type 1 diabetes screening test is a blood sample that looks for certain antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes. If the blood sample indicates that a person is producing certain antibodies, the next step is another blood sample to check if glucose is normal or elevated. Having an antibody may indicate that there is a risk of developing type 1 diabetes, but it is not a guarantee that a person will develop it. Discuss the test results with your medical team. If the test is negative, the blood sample can be repeated every year.
> What it isn’t: Taking a test to check for antibodies in the body is not a test to look at a person’s genes. It does not tell you if there is any genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. If a blood sample is negative for antibodies today, it does not promise that in the future, they will never appear.
> What it is: A type 2 diabetes screening test is a blood sample that checks whether glucose is in range or elevated.
> What it isn’t: Getting a type 2 diabetes screening test that finds your blood glucose is in range today doesn’t promise that your blood glucose will never rise in the future.
Why should I consider getting tested for Diabetes?
As they say, knowledge is power! If the result indicates that you are at risk for any type of diabetes, you have the opportunity to learn and discuss the next steps to focus on what is necessary to benefit your health. For risk of any type of diabetes, you can learn more about healthy steps to protect your health and try to prevent a diabetes diagnosis. In certain cases, there are medications you can take to help.
Tavia Vital BSN, BA, RN, CDCES
Director of Intensive Diabetes Management
Tavia is a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Regis University in Denver, Colorado after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa.
After working as an inpatient nurse, Tavia shifted her career focus to work as an outpatient nurse and diabetes educator. She worked many years as a diabetes educator in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism clinics, a high-risk diabetes and pregnancy clinic, and in family care/primary care provider clinics before joining Integrated Diabetes Services.