Diabetes Patients May Fall Into Five Categories (BBC News / NHS Choices / Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology / BMJ)


Scandinavian research indicates there may not be simply two diabetic conditions (Type 1 and Type 2).  Patients can be separated into five distinct clusters or sub-types, each with distinct symptoms, complications and possible treatments.

  1. Cluster 1: Severe Autoimmune Diabetes, broadly the same as the Type 1.
  2. Cluster 2: Severe Insulin-Deficient Diabetes, similar to above but where the immune system is not at fault.)
  3. Cluster 3: Severe Insulin-Resistant Diabetes, where patients are overweight and making insulin but their bodies no longer respond to it.
  4. Cluster 4: Mild Obesity-Related Diabetes, where people are overweight but metabolically more similar to normal.
  5. Cluster 5: Mild Age-Related Diabetes, where patients develop symptoms when older and the disease is typically milder.

Treating people in distinct groups differently might yield better outcomes, along the lines of personalised medicine.

Full Text Link


Gallagher, J. (2018). Diabetes is actually five separate diseases, research suggests. London: BBC Health News, March 2nd 2018.

Further clarification from Bazian:

Full Text Link


Are there actually 5 types of diabetes? London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, March 2nd  2018.

This relates to:

Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).


Ahlqvist, E. Storm, P. [and] Käräjämäki, A. [et al] (2018). Novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes and their association with outcomes: a data-driven cluster analysis of six variables. Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. March 1st 2018. [Epub ahead of print].

Possibly of interest, regarding earlier diagnosis and intervention:

Full Text Link


Therrien, A. (2018). Type-2 diabetes signs ‘detectable years before diagnosis’. London: BBC Health News, October 5th 2018.

Prevalence and Cost Trends

NHS Digital data on the increasing prevalence and costs of diabetes in England:

“…diabetes prescribing costs £1 billion per year, but it is estimated that the total cost to the NHS is over £10 billion per year… ”. Robin Hewings: Diabetes UK.

Full Text Link


Ives, L. (2018). Diabetes prescriptions now cost NHS £1bn, figures show. London: BBC Health News, November 8th 2018.

Declining Incidence / Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes?

A systematic review indicates that numbers of new Type 2 Diabetes cases may be stabilising, or falling recently:

Full Text Link


Signs of a slowdown in new type 2 diabetes cases. London: BBC Health News, September 12th 2019.

This relates to:

Full Text Link


Magliano, DJ. Islam, RM. [and] Barr ELM. [et al] (2019). Trends in incidence of total or type 2 diabetes: systematic review. BMJ. September 11th 2019; 366: l5003.

“ …increasing prevalence is partly driven by improved medical treatment and declining mortality”.

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in BBC News, For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), In the News, International, NHS Digital (Previously NHS Choices), Quick Insights, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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