It seems like we know a lot about diabetes.
This widespread disorder was found to occur because of inappropriate production or perception of hormone insulin. This chemical is generated by pancreatic cells in order to convert glucose from foods to energy and then move it from the bloodstream inside the cells.
To date, doctors classify diabetes into two main types. Type 1 of disease is recognized as autoimmune problem, in which person’s immune system begins to destroy body’s own insulin-producing cells by mistake.
But in vast majority of cases, disease happens because body cells become resistant to insulin. This is commonly called type 2 diabetes.
However recent research found that it could be more than two traditional types of diabetes.
Scientists from Sweden and Finland looked at nearly 15000 patients, in whom diabetes was diagnosed for the first time.
During the study, experts gathered data about participants’ weight, age, hemoglobin A1C (a lab sign of long-term control under the blood glucose levels), functioning of the insulin-creating pancreatic cells, insulin sensitivity and presence of autoimmune antibodies.
In addition to this, progression of disorder, effectiveness of treatment and complications were thoroughly observed too.
According to results, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, investigators supposed that diabetes should be classified into five types, or clusters:
Cluster 1 – severe autoimmune diabetes, which is similar to type 1 of disease. In this cluster, found in 6-15% of participants, autoantibodies were circulating that led to impaired creation of insulin.
Cluster 2 – severe insulin-deficient diabetes that affected younger people with normal BMI. Even though production of insulin was insufficient, no autoantibodies were found in the blood flow.
Cluster 3 – severe insulin-resistant diabetes. Eleven to seventeen percent of participants had increased BMI, insulin resistance and higher risks of diabetes-related kidney dysfunction.
Cluster 4 – mild obesity-related diabetes, which affected 18-23% of individuals. All of them were young adults with obesity but without insulin resistance.
Cluster 5 – mild age-related diabetes was found in older adults with moderate metabolic changes. It was recognized as the most common form of disease.
Scientists note that no identical genetic abnormalities were found for all these clusters.
This new study can really change the way, medical professionals treat diabetes. It’s a first step to more precise stratification and developing target therapy.
Further research is needed to find correlation in genetics, ethnicity and to investigate this topic in-depth.