5 Types of Diabetes, Not Just 2

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Last Updated on February 4, 2023

Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes; these are the classifications that we have had for years. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s going to be one of the two types, but this could be changing soon. Some researchers believe that there could be five different groups of diabetics, not just two. These new types could help scientists in their search for a cure, but is it going to change the average diabetic’s life?

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The researchers looked at data from over 10,000 recently diagnosed diabetes that ranged in ages, all the way from zero to 97, so the age of participants was varied, to say the least. They looked at genetic and non-genetic markers of the disease in each person to pinpoint the new sub-groupings of diabetes. The information examined included BMI, A1c, insulin secretion, and much more that went into the classification of each new grouping.

So, what sets these new types of diabetes apart from the traditional two types? Each of them has a unique characteristics that make them different from the original type 1 and type 2. From these studies, the researchers think that the new types should be broken into these five types,

  1. Traditional type 1 diabetics from autoimmune reactions
  2. Those with beta cell impairment caused by anything other than autoimmune reaction
  3. Anyone who have the most insulin-resistance and highest risk of kidney disease
  4. The most obese patients
  5. Anyone with diabetes because of aging

As you can see, all of the types hold the same symptoms and appear to be very similar, but this study could have drastic implications on the diabetic community and our search towards finding a cure. Understanding that reason that each of these patients was diagnosed with the condition is important in determining how we cure the disease.

Dr. Storm, who is the study investor at Lund University Diabetes Center in Sweden explained why this study is so important, “We present the first attempt to more fine-grained diabetes classification, predicting disease progression. By reclassifying diabetes into five new subgroups, we can better guide clinicians in treatment and risk for complications.” Which raises the great point of, if we don’t know where the diabetes is starting, how can we hope to find an end to it.

5 Types, but Does it Matter?

So, what does this mean for the diabetic community today? Right now, it doesn’t mean much. These research hope that the classifications will be used to diagnose diabetes and give patients and doctor a clearer idea of what caused the diabetes and exactly why they are in the position they are in.

Dr. Storm went on to show even more benefits of the study,  “Taken together, the research enables the development of a road-map for the diabetes patient, paving the way for early intensified treatment and thereby a way to possibly prevent late diabetic complications ascribed to the ‘metabolic memory’. It may also help pharmaceutical industry to better stratify patients for drug trials and thereby reduce costs for development of new drugs.” So, we may not see any huge waves made immediately from the reclassification, but there are hopes that the five new types will lead to bigger and better things in the future. New drugs. Cheaper treatments. Maybe even a cure.

Matt Schmidt is a nationally licensed diabetes insurance expert. Over this time frame he's helped out over 10,000 clients secure life insurance coverage with Diabetes. He's frequently authors content to Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Simple Dollar, GoBanking Rates, MSN, Insurancenews.net, and Yahoo Finance and many more.

Matt Schmidt is also the Co-Founder of Diabetes Life Solutions and Licensed Insurance agent. He’s been working with the Diabetes community for over 18 years to find consumers the best life insurance policies.  Since 2011, he has been a qualified non-member of MDRT, the most prestigious life insurance trade organization in the USA

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