Genetic Test Gives Early Warning For Kids At Risk Of Type 1 Diabetes
According to the CDC, Type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body where it can be used for energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and causes many of the symptoms and complications of diabetes.
However, new genetic tests are giving early warning for kids at risk of Type 1 diabetes. According to a recent report from NPR, “Nearly half of all children who develop Type 1 diabetes don’t know they have the disease until they end up in the hospital with a condition that puts them at risk of coma or even death.”
The article goes on to state, “in a complex disease like Type 1 diabetes, we’re probably unique in that we understand the vast majority of the genetic risk,” he says. In comparison, most tests that identify multiple gene variants linked to a disease or trait explain only a smaller fraction of the genetic component – and as a result they are far less useful.
So what can people do with this information? Outright prevention of Type 1 diabetes isn’t possible. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which is driven by certain antibodies that circulate in the blood. There’s no simple advice to avoid it – you can’t adjust your diet or exercise more.
But it is possible to identify children before they develop serious complications.
The genetic test indicates that a child is at 10 times the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. That may sound like a lot, but here’s another way frame it. The risk goes from 4 in 1,000 (0.4%) to 4 in 100 (4%), so developing the condition is still fairly unlikely.
“Being told your child’s at increased risk for something and there’s nothing you can do about it can be very overwhelming, or give you some anxiety,” says Kitty Keating, a genetic counselor at U.Va. “But knowing that there is something we can do to monitor it, even if their child is likely to never develop it, I think gives parents some relief, or a little bit more control.”
Vita Medical Solutions is proud to partner with laboratories to facilitate access to advanced Diabetes genetic testing.
Learn more about your personal and family genetic makeup and personalized medicine options through our genetic test offerings. A simple mouth swab can change your and family lives. Read more specifically about Diabetes testing here:
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Read the full article here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/10/14/763948647/researchers-try-a-genetic-diabetes-test-to-prevent-emergency-hospitalizations