Five types

5 types of diabetes?

The morning news bulletins are saying that Scandinavian scientists are saying there are not two types of diabetes, as previously thought,but at least five, and could be more.

The research, from Sweden and Finland, shows that there may be sub types with different causes. These are broken down into clusters:


  • Cluster 1 – severe autoimmune diabetes is broadly the same as the classical type 1 – it hit people when they were young, seemingly healthy and an immune disease left them unable to produce insulin
  • Cluster 2 – severe insulin-deficient diabetes patients initially looked very similar to those in cluster 1 – they were young, had a healthy weight and struggled to make insulin, but the immune system was not at fault
  • Cluster 3 – severe insulin-resistant diabetes patients were generally overweight and making insulin but their body was no longer responding to it
  • Cluster 4 – mild obesity-related diabetes was mainly seen in people who were very overweight but metabolically much closer to normal than those in cluster 3
  • Cluster 5 – mild age-related diabetes patients developed symptoms when they were significantly older than in other groups and their disease tended to be milder

This table has been copied from the BBC website.

This is of interest to me as a sufferer of type 2 diabetes. I started showing symptoms of diabetes in the spring of 2015, aged 61, and was diagnosed the following October, I have been on treatment for type 2 diabetes ever since.

So I started looking at diabetes online, one of the first things I saw is that over half the websites I looked at said the cause of type 2 diabetes was being obese. The NHS, or more specifically the diabetic nurse at my GP’s surgery, has given different advice, that obesity is often the cause, but not the only one.

But I do not need fat shaming, as I have never been obese, not even close, being in the range between 11 stone and 12 stone 7 pounds all my adult life, and lighter in my youth, at 5 feet 10.5 inches tall. There are body mass index calculators online if you want to look it up. Also my mother-in-law has Type 1 diabetes which developed from type 2, an example which is not a blood relative. She has always been skinny.

But the medication I am on if for a disease which is often caused by obesity, and is the same as if it was caused by obesity, even though that was not the case for the two people with who developed Type 2 diabetes that I know most about, my mother-in-law and myself. I am not a doctor, just an inpatient patient, for all I know this medication may be appropriate for both causes, but it needs to be looked at.

This is still at the early stages, but I have an interest here. At least it may shut up the fat shamers who target the skinny.


2 thoughts on “Five types

  1. Interesting. If things go on as they are, then I suspect medical treatment will start to look very different in the next 10-20 years. Doctors (and patients!) will need to think much less in terms of labelling a disease for which they then provide treatment and much more in terms of tuning an individual system.

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