Diabetes can be divided into five groups, finds study

Georgia Reed
March 4, 2018

Cluster 5 - age related diabetes with patients developing symptoms when they were significantly older than other groups.

By isolating measurements of insulin resistence, insulin secretion, blood sugar levels, age, and the onset of illness, they distinguished five distinct clusters of the disease - three serious and two milder forms. It hits young people whose bodies struggle to produce insulin, but the immune system is not at fault.

For many years, diabetes cases have largely been classified as either type 1 or type 2.

Dr Victoria Salem, an advisor and clinical researcher at Imperial College London, said most pros realized that type 1 and type 2 was "not a horribly exact characterization framework".

These findings are based on initial results of ANDIS - a study covering all newly diagnosed diabetics in southern Sweden.

Diabetes influences around one of every 11 grown-ups worldwide and expands the risk of heart assault, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and appendage removal. About 90% to 95% of diabetics are classified as type 2, according to Medical News Today.

In type 2 diabetes, which accounts for the vast majority of cases, the body is unable to properly use insulin, and it can eventually lose some of its ability to produce the hormone.

"For the patient, I think it will mean a more individualised therapy [and] a better quality of life", said Leif Groop, professor of diabetes and endocrinology at Lund University, who led the study. "We need to end the marketing of unhealthy food to children and make sure the food all of us eat is healthier", Annika said.

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Researchers say the groupings held both for those with newly diagnosed diabetes and those who had long had the disease, further suggesting the five categories are not simply down to different stages of the same form of diabetes - although further work is needed to explore whether patients can move between the types.

"To support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, Bradford City and Bradford District Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are offering people at significant risk of diabetes across Bradford a place on the new NHS diabetes prevention programme". Cluster 1 (n = 577) was characterized by early-onset disease, low BMI, poor metabolic control, insulin deficiency and presence of GADA.

The first cluster - defined as severe autoimmune diabetes - was the least common, with only 6.4% of the cohort fitting this type.

Group 5, MARD (mild age-related diabetes): is the largest group (about 40%) and consists of the most elderly patients. New research confirms that in general it's most commonly diagnosed in the young.

In the ANDIS study, blood samples were taken from people at registration, allowing the researchers to analyse their DNA and blood chemistry. A new classification system could help doctors identify the people most at risk for complications, the study authors say, and could pave the way for more personalized and effective treatments.

Cluster 4: Mild obesity related diabetes, seen in 21.6 per cent of patients.

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

Each cluster has different risks associated with it, and patients could respond better to different treatments, researchers say.

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