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Newly-identified type 3c of diabetes is being wrongly diagnosed as type 2

Type 3c diabetes is caused by damage to the pancreas from inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), tumours of the pancreas, or pancreatic surgery

Andrew McGovern | The Conversation 


Most people are familiar with type 1 and type 2 Recently, though, a new type of has been identified: type 3c

Type 1 is where the body’s immune system destroys the producing cells of the It usually starts in childhood or early adulthood and almost always needs treatment. Type 2 occurs when the can’t keep up with the demand of the body. It is often associated with being overweight or obese and usually starts in middle or old age, although the age of onset is decreasing.

Type 3c is caused by damage to the from inflammation of the (pancreatitis), tumours of the pancreas, or pancreatic surgery. This type of damage to the not only impairs the organ’s ability to produce but also to produce the proteins needed to digest food (digestive enzymes) and other hormones.

However, our latest study has revealed that most cases of type 3c are being wrongly diagnosed as type 2 Only 3% of the people in our sample – of more than 2m – were correctly identified as having type 3c

Small studies in specialist centres have found that most people with type 3c need insulin and, unlike with other diabetes types, can also benefit from taking digestive enzymes with food. These are taken as a tablet with meals and snacks.

Researchers and specialist doctors have recently become concerned that type 3c might be much more common than previously thought and that many cases are not being correctly identified. For this reason, we performed the first large scale population study to try and find out how common type 3c is.

We also looked into how well people with this type of have their blood sugar controlled. To do this we analysed records from over 2m people in England. The records used were taken from the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Database (RCGP RSC). This database, mainly used for flu surveillance, contains the anonymised healthcare records of people of all ages for a sample of GP practices spread out across England.

We looked for cases of occurring after conditions which had caused damage to the including pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and tumours, and pancreatic surgery. These cases of are likely to be cases of type 3c The proportion of people with diseases of the who go on to develop is not clear but it does not happen in all cases, and there may be a long delay before the onset of

The human pancreas. yodiyim/Shutterstock

To our surprise, we found that in adults, type 3c was more common than type 1 We found that 1% of new cases of in adults were type 1 compared with 1.6% for type 3c

People with type 3c were twice as likely to have poor blood sugar control than those with type 2 They were also five to ten times more likely to need insulin, depending on their type of disease.

We found that the onset of type 3c could occur long after the onset of injury. In many cases more than a decade later. This long lag may be one of the reasons the two events are not often thought of as being linked, and the diagnosis of type 3c is being overlooked.

Correctly identifying the type of is important as it helps the selection of the correct treatment. Several drugs used for type 2 diabetes, such as gliclazide, may not be as effective in type 3c Misdiagnosis, therefore, can waste time and money attempting ineffective treatments while exposing the patient to high blood sugar levels.

Our findings highlight the urgent need for improved recognition and diagnosis of this surprisingly common type of

Andrew McGovern, Clinical researcher, University of Surrey

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation

First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 10:49 IST