New research brings hope to diabetes patients

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Gracious Madondo

Local medical practitioners have hailed a recent new discovery that has identified five more types of diabetes, a development that makes it easier to administer specific medication for each type.

A new study by the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden has revealed that diabetes actually comes in five types and from each type a treatment can be tailor made, leading to the treatment and control of the disease into an era of personified medicine for each patient.

African region chair for the International Diabetic Federation, Dr John Mangwiro, said the further stratification of diabetes is a medical breakthrough that will help in minimising health complications by detecting the exact organ mostly likely to be damaged by the diabetes type.

“This classification of diabetes will help in predicting which organ is most likely to be damaged by the diagnosed type of diabetes thereby helping in prevent organ damage by disease” he said.

The study by Lund University Centre identified the five possible types of diabetes as type 1 diabetes, which is a variable similar to the traditional type 1 caused by a loss of insulin producing cells leading to an insulin deficiency and type 2 diabetes that is similar to that of the traditional type 2 caused by poor life styles such as lack of physical exercise, poor diet, and stress among other causes.

Type 3 of the disease is called “severe insulin-resistance diabetes” while type 4 diabetes is called “mild obesity-related diabetes and affects people who are overweight and type 5 diabetes is called “middle aged diabetes” prevalent in people who were older at age of diagnosis.

The study shows that type 3 diabetes is the most aggressive and researchers say people in this cluster are at high risk of developing retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that causes vision loss.

A team of researchers who identified the five types of diabetes say there is a high possibility that some diabetic patients could be taking medication they don’t really need while others are not being treated appropriately.

Dr Mangwiro said diabetes treatment has over the years evolved as past treatment for diabetes was like a “one jacket fits all scenario” were patients from different health backgrounds, ages and stages of treatment were all prescribed the same Metformin dosage without paying attention to the patient’s differences.

The study brings new hope to the treatment of diabetes as it points to an era of individualised treatment of the disease and preventing major health complications that arise from the disease.

 

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