Diabetes Awareness Week.

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Diabetes affects 529 million people globally, with estimates expected to exceed 1.3 billion by 2050.1 It is a condition that we’re all familiar with. Whether you live with diabetes or know someone who does, most of us have some relationship with it. However, there is a lot of misconceptions surrounding diabetes.

Recently, novel therapies have been developed for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, to reap the benefits of these new medications, it is important that diabetes is correctly diagnosed. The misdiagnosis of T1D and T2D is a common issue, and one becoming more prominent as the global prevalence of obesity increases to over 1 billion people2. Obesity is usually associated with T2D but is becoming more common in T1D cases. Furthermore, the average age of people diagnosed with T2D is decreasing, with many more young people suffering from this condition classically attributed to those over 40 years old.

This year, for Diabetes Awareness Week, we’d like to discuss the importance of accurate diagnosis and correct classification of these subtypes of diabetes, the new therapies we’ve alluded to, and how Randox Health is paving the way for a world where incorrect classification of diabetes is a problem of the past.

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: T1D and T2D. Most people are familiar with these terms, but many are unsure of the difference. Simply put, both are caused by problems with insulin, but they have different origins.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune condition which causes immune cells to attack the pancreas, specifically the pancreatic β-cells responsible insulin production3. This autoimmune reaction causes a lack of insulin secretion by the pancreas – this is known as insulin deficiency. Insulin deficiency means the body cannot effectively absorb or transport glucose, the body’s primary cellular energy supply. T1D can affect people of all ages; however, it is commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents3.

Conversely, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a condition caused by a combination of genetic factors related to impaired insulin secretion and environmental factors like obesity, over-eating, lack of exercise, stress and aging3. In normal physiology, glucose levels are regulated and remain stable, regardless of fluctuations in physiological demand. This regulation occurs through interactions between tissue sensitivity to insulin and insulin secretion. In T2D, these regulatory mechanisms fail and result in impaired insulin secretion through pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and impaired insulin action/insulin resistance3.

Impaired Insulin Action: This term refers to any situation where insulin does not function as effectively as it should in the body, affecting various aspects of the insulin signalling pathway.

Insulin Resistance: This specific type of impaired insulin action occurs when the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, requiring higher levels of insulin to regulate blood glucose effectively.

The symptoms of T1D and T2D are similar, meaning accurate diagnosis and classification can be challenging. Common symptoms include4:

  • Frequent urination, particularly throughout the night.
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Blurred visio


As many as 15% of young adults who present with suspected diabetes are incorrectly diagnosed and therefore, incorrectly treated5. Where T2D is diagnosed as T1D, the individual will be subject to unnecessary initial insulin therapy, higher drug and monitoring costs and often, an increase in number and severity of symptoms. On the other hand, when T1D is misclassified as T2D, it can lead to poor control of glucose levels, more visits to healthcare services for treatment, inappropriate insulin regimes and a risk of diabetic ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an accumulation of ketones in the body due to insulin deficiency5.

Novel Therapeutics

With the introduction of novel therapies, the correct diagnosis of diabetes subtypes has never been more important. Recently, new drugs such as teplizumab and semaglutide have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of T1D and T2D, respectively.

In November 2022, the FDA approved the use of teplizumab – the first disease-modifying treatment for T1D. Teplizumab is designed to delay the onset of T1D in high risk individuals and therefore can only be prescribed before the onset of symptoms6, yet there are currently no national screening programmes anywhere in the world to identify early pre-clinical T1D. Teplizumab is not yet approved for use in the UK. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are currently considering the implementation of this drug for those at risk of developing T1D7.

Semaglutide, known under the brand name Ozempic, is a novel T2D medication used to manage blood glucose levels. Semaglutide or Ozempic acts as a GLP-1 agonist, meaning it selectively binds to the GLP-1 receptor to lower blood glucose levels by stimulating insulin secretion in correlation with the amount of glucose present8. Although drugs like Ozempic are not designed for use in those who do not have diabetes, off-label prescriptions for weight loss have become popular since its FDA approval due to its ability to supress appetite and keep people feeling full for longer.

Diabetes Testing at Randox Health

This year, Diabetes UK has chosen Diabetes Health Checks as the theme for Diabetes Awareness Week. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should receive annual health checks to regularly evaluate your diabetic health status. If you haven’t yet been diagnosed, but have some concerns about your diabetic health, Randox Health has just what you need.

At Randox Health, we offer a range of diabetes-related health tests designed to provide you with the health insights necessary to help improve your wellbeing. We have several health check packages to help you get a picture of your diabetes health.

Type 1 Diabetes Risk

With recent studies showing that more and more T1D cases occur in adulthood, new methods of determining one’s risk of T1D are urgently needed. To this end, in partnership with the University of Exeter, Randox have developed the Type 1 Diabetes Risk Test.

Using our patented biochip technology, this test analyses 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which are associated with T1D. SNPs are single nucleotide (the building blocks of DNA) changes in your DNA, some of which are linked to disease. The data gathered are then analysed by an algorithm to determine if you’re at high risk of developing T1D.

It’s important to note that receiving a ‘high risk’ result doesn’t mean you will develop T1D, it simply means you’re at increased risk compared with someone who received a ‘low risk’ result. Armed with this information, you will be able to make the correct decisions and lifestyle modifications for your wellbeing, based on your unique genetic makeup. The results from this test can also be used to inform your doctor of your T1D risk, allowing them to help you decide what lifestyle changes or medications are right for you.


Our Everyman/Everywoman health check provides unparalleled insights into your overall well-being, including your diabetes health, through a simple blood test. By testing up to 150 data points, this information allows you to explore your risk of developing various conditions, including those most prevalent in the UK and worldwide.

  • Personal Health Measurements
  • Full Blood Count
  • Iron Status
  • Heart Health
  • Diabetes Health
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Kidney Health
  • Liver Health
  • Urinalysis
  • Pancreatic Health
  • Digestive Health
  • Nutritional Health
  • Muscle & Joint Health
  • Bone Health
  • Allergy Evaluation
  • Infection & Inflammation
  • Thyroid
  • Prostate Health
  • Female Hormonal Health
  • Male Hormonal Health

For diabetic health, this test includes analysis of your blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin and C-peptide – biomarkers closely linked to T2D. This comprehensive health check includes a 12-month plan with 2 health checks, to allow you to monitor how the changes you make affect your health; a personalised health plan detailing your results and recommendations; and an optional health and wellbeing consultation with one of our health experts, or a GP appointment. With results returned with 2-5 working days, the Everyman/Everywoman provides a rapid and inclusive appraisal of your current diabetes and overall health status.

Diabetes testing is also included in our Signature, Discovery and Vital packages so you can be assured that no matter which of our general health offerings you choose, you’ll receive an evaluation of your diabetic health.

You can use the links in this article to find any of the tests we’ve mentioned, where you can book online. However, if you’d like to discuss these, or any of or other test packages, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us using our contact form, or you can reach us through any of our social media channels.



  1. The Lancet. Diabetes: a defining disease of the 21st century. The Lancet. 2023;401(10394):2087. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(23)01296-5
  2. Phelps NH, Singleton RK, Zhou B, et al. Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults. The Lancet. 2024;403(10431):1027-1050. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(23)02750-2
  3. Ozougwu O. The pathogenesis and pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Physiology and Pathophysiology. 2013;4(4):46-57. doi:10.5897/JPAP2013.0001
  4. Diabetes UK. Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/differences-between-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes.
  5. Oram RA, Patel K, Hill A, et al. A Type 1 Diabetes Genetic Risk Score Can Aid Discrimination Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Young Adults. Diabetes Care. 2016;39(3):337-344. doi:10.2337/dc15-1111
  6. Thakkar S, Chopra A, Nagendra L, Kalra S, Bhattacharya S. Teplizumab in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: An Updated Review. touchREVIEWS in Endocrinology. 2023;19(2):7. doi:10.17925/EE.2023.19.2.7
  7. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Teplizumab for delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes in people 8 years and over at risk of developing the condition [ID6259]. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/awaiting-development/gid-ta10981.
  8. Kapitza C, Dahl K, Jacobsen JB, Axelsen MB, Flint A. Effects of semaglutide on beta cell function and glycaemic control in participants with type 2 diabetes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2017;60(8):1390-1399. doi:10.1007/s00125-017-4289-0
  9. Diabetes UK. Ozempic and weight loss: the facts behind the headlines. New and views.
  10. Locke JM, Latten MJ, Datta RY, et al. Methods for quick, accurate and cost-effective determination of the type 1 diabetes genetic risk score (T1D-GRS). Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM). 2020;58(4):e102-e104. doi:10.1515/cclm-2019-0787