New Research Classifies Diabetes in Five Types

New Research Classifies Diabetes in Five Types

Diabetes is complex health condition which deteriorates lifestyle of patients and currently, medical experts classify diabetes as Type I and Type II diabetes. However, a new research suggests that diabetes can be classified in five different types. Researchers from Sweden and Finland consider five different types of diabetes and suggest that it would be better if patients are offered different treatment based on their condition. It could be more effective if personalized treatment can be offered for diabetes, the research team added.

Nearly 10 percent of adults worldwide suffer from diabetes. Type 2 diabetes reduces quality of life for patients as they have to keep their blood sugar levels under check. The research team added that currently used diabetes classification system has not been updated for last 20 years. The number of people suffering from diabetes is rising across the world as majority of diabetes cases are considered as outcome of poor lifestyle choices. Nearly 75% and 85% of people with diabetes are currently classified as suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland worked on the current projects and evaluated detailed analysis for 14,755 patients suffering from diabetes. The data related to age, body mass index, the presence of beta-cell antibodies, level of metabolic control and measures of beta-cell function and insulin resistance was checked for study subjects. The research team classified patients under five “clusters” of disease with significantly different characteristics.

Cluster 1 - severe autoimmune diabetes is broadly the same as the classical type 1 - it hit people when they were young, seemingly healthy and an immune disease left them unable to produce insulin
Cluster 2 - severe insulin-deficient diabetes patients initially looked very similar to those in cluster 1 - they were young, had a healthy weight and struggled to make insulin, but the immune system was not at fault
Cluster 3 - severe insulin-resistant diabetes patients were generally overweight and making insulin but their body was no longer responding to it
Cluster 4 - mild obesity-related diabetes was mainly seen in people who were very overweight but metabolically much closer to normal than those in cluster 3
Cluster 5 - mild age-related diabetes patients developed symptoms when they were significantly older than in other groups and their disease tended to be milder

Detailed report by the research team has been published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

The research paper informed, “This new substratification could change the way we think about type 2 diabetes and help to tailor and target early treatment to patients who would benefit most thereby representing a first step towards precision medicine in diabetes.” The study team added that further study would be required to change guidelines for classification of diabetes and to change treatment options for patients in future.