PARIS: 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 recognised, they reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a leading medical journal.

The findings are consistent with the growing trend towards “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 personalised treatment of diabetes,” said senior author Leif Groop, an endocrinologist at Lund University in Sweden, adding that the new classification is a “paradigm shift” in how the disease is viewed.

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 629m by 2045, according to the Inter­national Diabetes Federa­tion.

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

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2018

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