Towards an Earlier and Timely Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes: Is it Time to Change Criteria to Define Disease Onset?

Manuela Battaglia, Laura Nigi, Francesco Dotta

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Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the immune-mediated form of diabetes requiring insulin treatment and affecting both children and adults. The incidence of T1D is increasing dramatically and has doubled in the past 2 decades. In the recent years, significant knowledge on the disease natural history has been gained and, nowadays, diabetes-related autoantibodies make T1D a predictable disease. Despite this great advance in the field of T1D, we still use diagnostic criteria defined by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 1997. In other autoimmune endocrine disorders (e.g., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Addison’s disease), that share several features with T1D, diagnosis is made early in the presence of circulating autoantibodies together with subclinical thyroid/adrenal functional impairment and treatments are often provided in the absence of a frank clinical glandular insufficiency. With this review, we propose to anticipate diagnosis also in T1D at the stage in which subjects have circulating multiple islet autoantibodies, are dysglycemic but are still insulin independent. We believe that anticipating T1D diagnosis can lead to better disease management and prevention of secondary complications but can also provide the possibility to perform earlier and likely more effective interventions for a disease that to date has proven controllable but still incurable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Diagnosis
  • Glycemia
  • Islet autoantibodies
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine


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