5 types of diabetes
COULD THIS BE THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING BIG?
Across the world, there are currently about 425 million people living with diabetes, all of whom have either type 1 – an auto-immune condition – or type 2, affected by a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors (for more details on each, see page 9). However, a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology reveals that diabetes is much more complex than once thought.
Predicting the risk of serious complications and suitable treatment suggestions, the discovery of five types of diabetes – instead of two – was identified by a study conducted by Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland.
Researchers studied an array of measurements, including insulin resistance, blood glucose levels and age at onset of illness, in almost 15,000 patients across the two Nordic countries.
“This is the first step towards personalised treatment of diabetes,” says Leif Groop, physician and professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Lund University in Sweden.
Through the identification of five clusters, researchers found that type 2 could be separated into four categories, with significantly different characteristics and complication risks; all of which could help health care teams to provide better treatment options for patients in the future.
“The most insulin-resistant patients [Group 3] have the most to gain from the new diagnostics as they are the ones who are currently most incorrectly treated,” says Prof Groop.
Although this discovery could cause a shift in how diabetes is viewed and treated in the future, the study is currently solely based on people from Sweden and Finland, and will take some
time before the findings will affect how people with diabetes are treated on a broader scale.
“The longer the study is running, the more and better data we’ll get,” says Emma Ahlqvist, associate professor at Lund University.
Researchers have several studies underway based on the data already acquired, and plan on launching similar studies focusing on different ethnicities in countries such as India and China.
“This will give us even better opportunities to tailor the treatment to each individual,” says Ahlqvist.
Current diagnostics and classification of
diabetes are insufficient and unable to predict future complications or choice of treatment
– Leif Groop