Scientists say there are 5 different types of diabetes, not just Type 1 and 2

5:46 p.m Friday, March 2, 2018 Atlanta health, diet and fitness news

Diabetes has largely been classified as either Type 1 or Type 2. But researchers in Sweden and Finland now say there may be five different types of the disease, some of which are more dangerous than others.

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Their new research, published Thursday in the journal The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology, included a data-driven cluster analysis of approximately 9,000 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes.

In their analysis based on age at diagnosis, hemoglobin A1C, beta cell functioning and more, the researchers realized the heterogeneity of the disease among the patients called for a “refined classification” of diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are “mistakingly attacked and destroyed by the immune system,” according to Medical News Today.

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And in Type 2, the most common category of diabetes accounting for 90-95 percent of all cases, the body’s cells either stop responding to insulin or the beta cells can’t produce enough of the hormone.

People suffering from either type of the disease have blood sugar levels that can become too high. This condition is called hyperglycemia and can lead to kidney disease, heart disease and more if it’s not properly controlled or treated.

But the characteristics of those suffering with Type 2 diabetes varied significantly, especially when it came to risk of diabetic kidney disease.

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The researchers proposed five “clusters” of the disease instead.

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In addition to reclassifying the disease, researchers pointed out that the patients in the five clusters were receiving inappropriate treatments. This further indicated that the current classification needs to be revised.

By refining the disease to five categories, the scientists believe that tailored treatments for specific clusters may represent “a first step towards precision medicine in diabetes.”

They call for larger studies with more diverse populations and variables to further study the proposed five-cluster reclassification.

Read the full study at