Has Science Discovered New Types of Diabetes Beyond 1 and 2?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

new types of diabetes

Adult-onset diabetes is a huge societal problem. In fact, problems with sugar metabolism are likely at the core of why most Americans develop heart disease and cancer. In addition, out-of-control sugar intake and insulin response can also seriously screw up your stem cells and shorten your life-span. Hence, when scientists discover a new type of diabetes, it’s a big deal.

The Traditional Definition of Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes

Our pancreas houses beta cells that produce a glucose-regulating hormone called insulin. You’re probably most familiar with insulin as its relation to diabetes and the control of blood sugar. When we digest food, this increases our blood sugar. In response, healthy beta cells release the necessary amount of insulin to regulate our blood sugar. Basically, the insulin takes the sugar out of the bloodstream and forces it into the cells so that they can function. But what happens when our beta cells aren’t functioning properly and too much or not enough insulin is produced? The body can’t properly regulate the blood sugar and the cells eventually starve. In addition, all of this excess sugar in the blood wreaks havoc with the brain, heart, blood vessels, and other organ systems. Traditionally, once it gets to the point of not enough insulin, we know this as either type-1 or type-2 diabetes. Before we consider new types of diabetes, let me define these disease states.

Type-1 Diabetes

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune cells see the insulin-producing beta cells as foreign to the body and attack and destroy them. This usually happens in younger people, often in childhood or adolescence. No beta cells mean no insulin, which means the body is unable to control its own blood sugar. This is why type-1 diabetics must take insulin, and will always take insulin, to prompt the body to do what it can’t do for itself.

Type-2 Diabetes

Type-2 diabetes is, by far, the most common. It is diagnosed when the cells can’t produce enough insulin to properly regulate the blood-sugar levels. In addition, insulin resistance can occur in type-2 diabetes when the previously normal levels of insulin are no longer able to effectively lower the blood sugar. So the beta cells are still doing the same job they’ve always done; it just isn’t enough. This most commonly happens in adults, so this is also known as adult-onset diabetes.

While type-1 diabetes is known to be a genetic and unpreventable disease, type-2 is associated with a variety of preventable environmental choices, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, etc.), and so on. In other words, while you can be genetically predisposed to obesity, if you have a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you will likely have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes.

New Types of Diabetes: Five Distinct Forms of Diabetes Found

The new study was a cohort, meaning a combination two or more studies, that involved nearly 9,000 patients who’d been newly diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers considered variables such as age, BMI, and HbA1c levels (a long-term indicator of blood-sugar control) as well as complications, medications, genetic factors, and so on for each patient. Patients were placed into categories (termed clusters) based on the findings. The results? Interestingly, five distinct clusters, each with different diabetic characteristics and complications were determined.

Why is this significant? Diabetic patients in cluster 3, for example, carried increased risks for kidney disease. For those in cluster 2, retinopathy (eye disease) was more likely. Researchers hope with these findings, this is a first step toward diabetic treatments that can be more precisely focused on patients’ individual diabetic risks rather than the standard treatment approach to one of two types of diabetes. All of this means that there are likely subtypes of diabetics who have different risk factors for different serious disease.

Type-2 Diabetes Control

In the meantime, as medical science strives to catch up to its newest diabetes findings, if you have type-2 diabetes or are borderline diabetic, there are some things you can do to work toward either controlling your diabetes or preventing it before it occurs:

The upshot? It always amazes me when we find out new things about the body and diseases that we thought we had dialed in. Expect many more of these discoveries in the age of big data analytics and artificial intelligence. As a result, I suspect that 50 years from now, physicians will look back at the quaint medicine that doctors embraced at the turn of 21st century, which to them will look as crazy as the medicine of our forebears in 1900 looks to us!

Category: Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “Has Science Discovered New Types of Diabetes Beyond 1 and 2?

  1. JUNE HUCHINGSON PhD

    WHENEVER I CHECK MY EMAILS, YOUR EMAILS ARE THE FIRST ONES I READ. YOU ALWAYS SEND INFORMATIVE AND UNUSUAL TOPICS WHICH ARE VERY WELL WRITTEN. I SAVED EVERY ONE YOU SENT AND I DO GO BACK AND RE-READ THEM.

    TODAYS INFORMATION ON DIABETES/BLOOD SUGAR IS SO IMPORTANT. “ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL” GOES THE OLD SAYING. ONE TREATMENT FOR BLOOD SUGAR PROBLEMS NEVER MADE ANY SENSE. OF COURSE, CHANGING THE DIET TO ONE THAT IS HEALTHY IS LOGICAL AND HELPFUL. BUT FOR THOSE WHO NEED MEDICATION, AN INDIVIDUALIZED ASSESSMENT WOULD BE LIFE SAVING.

  2. Mike

    Some researchers think Alzheimers may be Diabetes type 3

  3. Jim

    I am an outwardly healthy senior with none of the recognised risk factors for diabetes but a recent blood test showed insulin lower than the bottom of the range. As a result, I have become intensely interested in beta cell destruction. Thank you for using your valuable time to keep us informed. I never would have thought it could be ME!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.