Could There be More than two Types of Diabetes?

Diabetes & Genes

Could There be More than Two Types of Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that, according to common knowledge, is classified into two main types. However, recent studies suggest the potential for additional types of diabetes. This revelation could have a profound impact on how we perceive, treat, and prevent this pervasive disease.

Introduction to Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, leading to elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

Understanding the Known Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It’s often diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes, type 2, is characterized by insulin resistance. The body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin, causing sugar to build up in the blood instead of being used as energy.

The Potential for More Types of Diabetes

Is Type 3 Diabetes a Reality?

Recent research suggests a potential third type, sometimes referred to as Type 3c or Pancreatogenic diabetes, which is a consequence of pancreatic disease.

Gestational Diabetes: Another Type?

Pregnant women can develop gestational diabetes, which is technically another type. It usually disappears after pregnancy but may leave the woman with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

The Controversy Surrounding LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults)

LADA, often called type 1.5 diabetes, has characteristics of both type 1 and type 2. It is a slowly progressing form of autoimmune diabetes that can be mistakenly diagnosed as type 2 due to its late onset.

Recent Research on Diabetes Classification

The Finnish Study: Clustering Diabetes

A 2018 study in Finland and Sweden suggested that diabetes could be segregated into five clusters, each with different characteristics and risks of complications, a departure from the traditional type 1 and type 2 classification.

Implications of the Research on Type 3 Diabetes

The existence of additional diabetes types could dramatically change the future of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. It could mean personalized medicine for diabetes, leading to more effective treatment plans and better patient outcomes.

Potential Impact on Treatment and Prevention

If these additional types of diabetes are accepted and integrated into medical practice, it could lead to significant shifts in how diabetes is managed and prevented. This could result in personalized care that better addresses the underlying causes of the disease for individual patients.


While the traditional classification of diabetes into two types has been widely accepted, research suggests there may be more to the story. Understanding these potential additional types could revolutionize diabetes care, offering hope for more effective treatments and preventative measures in the future.


  1. Are there more than two types of diabetes? Recent research suggests there could be additional types of diabetes beyond the commonly recognized Type 1 and Type 2.
  2. What is LADA? LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults), often called type 1.5 diabetes, has characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  3. What is Type 3 diabetes? Type 3c, or Pancreatogenic diabetes, is a potential third type of diabetes that is a consequence of pancreatic disease.
  4. What is the Finnish study about diabetes? The Finnish study proposed that diabetes could be divided into five distinct clusters, each with different characteristics and risks of complications.
  5. What could be the impact of recognizing more types of diabetes? If more types are recognized, it could lead to personalized care that better addresses the underlying causes of the disease for individual patients.

As scientists and researchers develop a better understanding of diabetes, its forms, and how it impacts the body, it allows for more personalized treatment options. Individuals can find what works best for their specific type of diabetes and their body’s needs. The Diabetes Research Connection encourages and supports novel studies on type 1 diabetes to expand understanding and treatment approaches. Early career scientists receive up to $50,000 in funding for research projects. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support.

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