23andMe Plans New Genetic Test on Risk of Getting Diabetes

March 11, 2019, 1:25 PM UTC

In an update to its genetic test, 23andMe is trying to make it easier for people to combat type 2 diabetes.

When customers now purchase the company’s $199 Health & Ancestry Service test, they’ll get their saliva screened for type 2 diabetes, among a variety of other health conditions, the company said in a statement on Sunday. The test won’t say for sure whether a person has diabetes or will definitely get it, but the results will provide insight into whether someone is at risk of becoming diabetic.

According to 23andMe, its test to determine diabetes risk comes from an analysis of data the company collected from more than 2.5 million customers who opted in to its research. Scientists evaluated the user data and created a system of scoring a person’s likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes based on more than 1,000 genetic factors.

Diabetes is a major health issue for people across the world. In the U.S., alone, it’s estimated that one in three Americans is pre-diabetic and half of Americans will be impacted by diabetes at some point in their lifetimes. The cost to treat diabetes is $327 billion per year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening, type 2 is generally a milder version that occurs later in life. It can often be prevented or managed with a healthier lifestyle.

According to 23andMe, in addition to the diabetes test results, its report will include tips on how to prevent the condition and improving wellness.

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