Diabetes: Study proposes five types, not two

Adults with diabetes could benefit from better treatment if the condition was categorized into five types, rather than just two. This is the conclusion of a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The research was led by Prof. Leif Groop, of the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland in Helsinki.

In the United States alone, around 30.3 million people are living with diabetes.

Excluding gestational diabetes — diabetes that develops during pregnancy — there are two main types: type 1 and type 2.

In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas — which produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels — are mistakingly attacked and destroyed by the immune system.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, accounting for around 90–95 percent of all cases. This occurs when the body’s cells stop responding to insulin, or the beta cells are unable to produce sufficient amounts of the hormone.

In both forms of the condition, blood sugar levels can become too high — a condition known as hyperglycemia. Unless controlled, this can lead to a number of complications, including kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and nerve damage.

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