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Diabetes can be divided into five separate types, not two

Staff Writer |
Diabetes patients can be divided into five subgroups with different disease progressions and risks of complications, according to new research that differs from the traditional two-type classification.

Scientists in Sweden and Finland published the study in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

They believe that the study might help tailor and target treatment and lay the foundation for precision medicine in the future.

The new study offers a new division for diabetes, and identifies five clusters of patients.

Cluster 1: Severe autoimmune diabetes is largely the same as the classical type 1. It hits people when they are young and have a healthy weight, and as an immune disease deprives them of the ability to produce insulin.

Cluster 2: Severe insulin-deficient diabetes similar to that in cluster 1. It hits young people whose bodies struggle to produce insulin, but the immune system is not at fault.

Cluster 3: Severe insulin-resistant diabetes patients are generally overweight and producing insulin, but their bodies aren't responding to it.

Cluster 4: Mild obesity related-diabetes mainly occurs among overweight people, whose metabolism is however much closer to normal compared with those in cluster 3.

Cluster 5: Mild age-related diabetes

Individuals in cluster 3 (most resistant to insulin) had a significantly higher risk of diabetic kidney disease than individuals in clusters 4 and 5, but had been prescribed similar diabetes treatment, researchers said.

"This is extremely important, we're taking a real step towards precision medicine," Prof. Leif Groop, one of the researchers, was quoted by BBC as saying.

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