Diabetes can be divided into five separate types, not two

One explanation, they say, is that diabetes diagnosis is based on only one measurement-how the body metabolizes glucose-when the disease is actually much more complex, and much more individual. Now researchers have come up with a five subgroup classification for diabetes to differentiate between their risks and related complications.

"Diabetes is not the grey mass we have been calling type 2 - there are really subsets of the disease that require different treatment", said Groop.

They were able to distinguish 3 severe and 2 mild forms of disease. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition where the body mistakenly attacks the pancreas, stopping it from producing insulin.

In 2016 39,334 Dorset people were recorded as living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is basically when body fat affects the way insulin works.

The study results suggest that a new classification system could help identify people at high risk of complications and better guide doctors in their choice of treatments, the authors wrote.

The researchers said type one should be renamed "severe autoimmune diabetes".

She explained that while Type 1 diabetes isn't now preventable, three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle and better understanding of the condition.

But it is also campaigning for people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to be identified and referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which supports people to make changes that could prevent the onset of the condition.

Scientists at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland found these two types to be too simplistic.


But the study authors, from the University of Gothenberg and Lund University in Sweden, say additional subgroups are needed.

Recent research from Sweden suggests that the two-pronged classification of diabetes-as type 1 or 2-may not be the best method for diagnosing and treating the disease.

Cluster 3: Characterised by obesity and severe insulin resistance, individuals in this group accounted for between 11% and 17% of participants and had the highest incidence of kidney damage.

"Meanwhile, there are many drugs available for controlling blood sugar levels". They also stated that an alarming 37 per cent of severe diabetes population is young and not obese.

Cluster 5: Mild age-related diabetes.

Severe Insulin-Deficient Diabetes (SIDD) was made up of relatively young adults with especially poor metabolic control.

The metformin findings show that "traditional classification is unable to tailor treatment to the underlying pathogenic defects", the researchers noted.

The researchers are also planning to launch similar studies in China and India with people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Around one-fifth of patients belonged to cluster 4, defined by a presence of obesity without insulin resistance. Diabetic eye disease was most common in this group. While no cure exists, and any changes to current treatment are likely a good way off, exploring the root causes and various manifestations of diabetes is a positive step forward for the development of new medicines that could in future reduce or prevent some of the most serious complications from arising.

  • Sylvester Abbott