‘Paradigm shift’ in diabetes diagnosis could help treatment: study

Source:AFP Published: 2018/3/2 23:18:39

Scientists on Friday unveiled a revised classification for diabetes, one they said could lead to better treatments and help doctors more accurately predict life-threatening complications from the disease.

There are five distinct types of diabetes that can occur in adulthood, rather than the two currently recognized, they reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a leading medical journal.

The findings are consistent with the growing trend toward "precision medicine," which takes into account differences between individuals in managing disease.

In the same way that a patient requiring a transfusion must receive the right blood type, diabetes sub-types need different treatments, the study suggested.

Similarly, scientists have also identified distinct kinds of microbiome - the bacterial ecosystem in our digestive tract - that can react differently to the same medication, rendering it more or less effective. 

"This is the first step towards personalized treatment of diabetes," said senior author Leif Groop, an endocrinologist at Lund University in Sweden.

People with diabetes have excessively high blood glucose, or blood sugar, which comes from food.

Some 420 million people around the world today suffer from diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Currently, the disease is divided into two sub-types.

With type-1 - generally diagnosed in childhood and accounting for about 10 percent of cases - the body simply doesn't make insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

For type-2, the body makes some insulin but not enough, which means glucose stays in the blood.

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