According to MSNBC.com, there may be many diabetes subtypes. The discoveries of these various diabetes subtypes are already triggering important changes in treatment. New findings show that diabetes is caused “by complex interactions among numerous genes and modern lifestyles – and a flurry of genetic discoveries in the past year finally points to new ways of attacking the epidemic.”
Twenty-one million Americans have diabetes, and there are variations among many of them. Where one might need dialysis, for example, another may not even despite of uncontrolled blood sugar. One person may be slender and have diabetes, where another overweight individual may not. New gene work suggests that individuals may need personalized treatment to address the various diabetes subtypes.
MODY Diabetes Subtypes
MODY is shorthand for six various diabetes subtypes that are thought to account for 2% of diabetes. Each of these six diabetes subtypes is caused by a different gene. Individuals whose diabetes stems from these diabetes subtypes have a faulty gene which causes the individual to not make enough insulin. MODY is highly heritable; however, not everyone who inherits MODY develops diabetes.
Many people with MODY are diagnosed with type-1 or type-2 diabetes. A doctor who suspects that a person has any of the diabetes subtypes of MODY, genetic testing can be used to confirm these suspensions and customize the treatment as needed. For instance, an individual may not require insulin and the diabetes may be controlled with oral medications. Individual screening can be used as well for people who have family members with MODY diabetes sub types.
Other Diabetes Subtypes
One of the most interesting diabetes subtypes, and further proof that treatment may need to be individualized, is latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). This accounts for approximately 10% of people with diabetes. Many people consider this a variation of type 1 diabetes, a type that just progresses more slowly. However, it is often misdiagnosed. Since it occurs in adults people take it as type-2 diabetes.
It is still in debate how this type should be diagnosed and treated. Not even the term for the condition is settled on. Some people prefer to call it ‘type-1.5’. It is still uncertain whether it is really distinct from type 1 or not. Just like type-1 diabetes, there is a presence of autoantibodies which attack the cells which produce insulin. Unlike type 1 insulin is not needed immediately and it commonly begins later than young adulthood.