Screening for Type 1 Diabetes


Thanks to 20 years of research, we can now screen anyone for the earliest stages of type 1 diabetes: autoantibodies.

Regardless of whether type 1 diabetes (T1D) runs in your family or not, you should consider having your children and potentially older family members screened through a simple blood test.

In fact, about 90 percent of people with T1D have no family history of the disease—and the rates of T1D are rising—which means getting screened is worthwhile for any family.

What are autoantibodies?

When your immune system starts attacking your own body, your body produces specific autoantibodies depending on what’s being attacked. There are five types of autoantibodies related to T1D that result from this attack—and we can detect those autoantibodies through a simple blood test.

Why screening matters…

Until recently, the only way to know if your child was developing T1D was to check their blood sugars routinely or wait for those telltale signs and symptoms of the disease. But those symptoms—constant thirst and frequent urination, weight loss, being tired all the time—only develop when your blood sugar levels have been high (or dangerously high) for weeks.

Through screening for autoantibodies, you may be able to identify the early development of T1D long before blood sugar levels rise and symptoms develop.

There are significant benefits of early detecting T1D early—including preventing years of moderately elevated blood sugar levels and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can be fatal. Screening can save lives.

Benefits to getting screened for T1D include:

  • Detecting T1D early reduces the likelihood of diabetic ketoacidosis and hospitalization at diagnosis
  • Opportunities to participate in clinical trials to prevent or delay the onset of T1D for years after screening
  • Knowing your results gives you peace of mind and time to prepare

Consider screening your children and other family members today!

Today’s Screening Options

T1Detect from JDRF

T1Detect, JDRF’s screening education and awareness program, will arm you with the information you need before and after getting screened for type 1 diabetes (T1D) autoantibodies. Until now, T1D symptoms and a diagnosis often come out of the blue. Today, families can use testing to detect T1D early so they can plan and prepare. With one blood test, anyone at any age can find out—before symptoms even occur—if they are at risk for developing T1D. The test is easy, simple and can help save lives. Everyone, regardless of relation to someone with confirmed T1D, is eligible.


If you have a relative with T1D, you’re in a unique position to help us learn more about the disease and how to prevent it. Offered through the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study, risk screening uses a simple blood test that can detect your risk of T1D years before symptoms appear. If you are in the early stages of T1D, you may be eligible for a prevention study. Take the first step and get screened.

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The Latest Screening News

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My Decision to Get Screened for T1D

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Knowledge is Power: Screening for T1D

After their first daughter was diagnosed with T1D, the Brzozowski family decided to have their youngest child screened, and discovered that she would eventually develop type 1 diabetesMORE

5 Reasons to Get Screened for Type 1 Diabetes

If you have a relative with type 1 diabetes, you may be at higher risk of developing the disease, making it imperative that you get screened. The Pathway to Prevention Study is a free and simple blood test that determines your risk of developing type 1 diabetes before symptoms occur. MORE

For more information about the importance of recognizing the symptoms of type 1 and educating others to prevent DKA and other complications, explore our Warning Signs Awareness Campaign.

This content was made possible by Provention Bio, a Sanofi Company.

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 03/25/21, UPDATED 10/30/23

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.