The BBC reported on Saturday that “misdiagnosed type 1 diabetes patients could be freed from the need to take insulin” once a new test is rolled out. But what’s the real story behind the headlines?
As the news article reports, Scotland is to become the first country to offer the C-peptide blood test to all people who have had a type 1 diagnosis for at least three years.
C-peptide testing, which measures if the body is still producing insulin and, if so, how much, is one of the tools doctors can use to classify which type of diabetes someone has.
The BBC News article quoted Professor Mark Strachan who said: “In some instances, C-peptide testing allowed people to stop very long-standing insulin therapy. This can be life-transforming.”
Conor McKeever, Research Communications Manager at JDRF, said: “Our congratulations go to Professor Strachan and his co-authors for this valuable study. Any approach that leads to people getting the right diagnosis – or even being freed from the burden of injecting insulin – is very valuable.
“However, only 1.5 per cent of the trial participants were able to discontinue insulin, after their type 1 diabetes diagnosis was reclassified to either type 2, or a rarer kind of diabetes called monogenic diabetes.
“The BBC article did not make this clear. It’s an important reminder that whilst new treatments and technologies are reducing some of the burden of taking insulin, this burden will only be fully lifted when we find cures for type 1 diabetes.”