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Behind the headlines: Concern over self-testing kits

Yesterday, the consumer group Which? showed concern that self-testing kits which allow people to diagnosis themselves with a condition, could be doing more harm than good. The article mentioned a boots home-testing kit which encourages people to test themselves for diabetes.

The watchdog asked medical experts to examine six kits testing for early signs of diseases. They came to the conclusion that the tests which are sold in shops or on the internet are potentially a good idea, but that they are often causing people to worry unnecessarily or even to be falsely reassured.

Which? questioned 64 members of the public, Dr Danielle Freedman from the Royal College of Pathologists and GP Dr Paul Singer about a range of tests. These people suggested that the kits were difficult to fully understand, said that the language was confusing and that they felt unsure as to how to react to the results they received from the tests.

The companies that sell the self-test kits advised that the products should only ever be used as well as seeking advice from a doctor or healthcare professional. JDRF strongly recommends that anyone who thinks they are showing symptoms of type 1 diabetes seeks medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional immediately.

JDRF recently recognised that there is a problem with many children receiving a delayed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in the UK. With 25% of all children with type 1 diabetes going into Diabetic Ketoacidosis before diagnosis, it is vital that more people are aware of the symptoms of type 1. We launched an awareness campaign together with Diabetes UK to make the general public and healthcare professionals more aware of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

If you want to help people recognise the symptoms of type 1 diabetes you can visit our website and order a poster which has the symptoms of type 1 diabetes clearly listed. You can put the poster up anywhere to raise awareness of the symptoms, it doesn’t only belong in the GP surgery. Why not post one up in your local school, on a noticeboard at your work, or even in a shop window.