Now There Are Five Types Of Diabetes - Not Two

A Sweden and Finland-based study has found diabetes should be categorised as five different diseases. Diabetes has been usually classified as Type-1, where the body stops producing insulin, and Type-2, where the body develops insulin resistance. Researchers have proposed Type-2 should be split into four categories, two mild and two severe, based on age and obesity.

Diabetes is actually made up of five conditions, researchers have found.

For decades the disease has been considered to be two different forms – type one, an autoimmune disease in which people stop producing insulin, and type two, in which the body becomes resistant to insulin.

But now a major project in Sweden and Finland has found type two diabetes should actually be categorised as four different diseases.

The researchers, led by experts at Lund University, last night said the findings should prompt a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way people treat diabetes.

Diabetes has been considered to be two different forms – type one, an autoimmune disease in which people stop producing insulin, and type two, in which the body becomes resistant to insulin

They believe the more precise groupings – each genetically distinct – will aid diagnosis, help tailor treatments and lead to precision medicines.

The researchers said type one should be renamed ‘severe autoimmune diabetes’. And type two should be split into four categories, two serious and two mild.

The first of these – severe insulin-deficient diabetes – was shown to include people with high blood sugar, low insulin production and moderate insulin resistance.

Another type of severe insulin-resistant diabetes is predominantly linked to obesity.

Mild obesity-related diabetes includes obese patients but is less serious and includes people who fall ill at a relatively young age.

What are the different types of diabetes?

Cluster 1: Severe autoimmune diabetes, or ‘type one’ diabetes, people stop producing insulin.

Cluster 2: Severe insulin-deficient diabetes affects young people with high blood sugar, low insulin production and moderate insulin resistance.

Cluster 3: Severe insulin-resistant diabetes is mostly linked to obesity.

Cluster 4: Mild obesity-related diabetes – affects obese patients but is less serious.

Cluster 5: Mild age-related diabetes is the biggest group, mostly elderly patients.

And the final group, mild age-related diabetes, is the largest group, with 40 per cent of all patients, and consists mostly of elderly patients.

Diabetes is rapidly becoming Britain’s fastest growing health crisis, with the number of patients doubling in 20 years to 3.7million.

The researchers, whose work is published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, based their findings on 14,775 newly diagnosed patients in Sweden and Finland.

Researcher professor Leif Groop said: ‘This is the first step towards personalised treatment of diabetes. Current diagnostics and classification of diabetes are insufficient and unable to predict future complications or choice of treatment.’

Dr Emily Burns of Diabetes UK said: ‘Type one and type two diabetes are very different conditions but we don’t yet know enough about the subtypes that could exist within them.

‘Finding those subtypes will help us personalise treatments and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications in the future.

‘This research takes a promising step toward breaking down type two diabetes in more detail but we still need to know more about these subtypes before we can understand what this means for people living with the condition.’

Another type of severe insulin-resistant diabetes is predominantly linked to obesity. Mild obesity-related diabetes includes obese patients but is less serious and includes people who fall ill at a relatively young age