Most people are familiar with the variants of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. But a new type of diabetes - type 3c - has recently been identified, which may turn out to be surprisingly common, writes Science Alert.
In type 1, the immune system destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. It usually starts in childhood and almost always requires insulin treatment.
In type 2, the pancreas cannot meet the body's insulin needs. It is often associated with overweight and obesity and usually begins in middle or old age, although its average age of onset is decreasing according to recent trends in modern society.
Newly diagnosed type 3 diabetes is caused by damage to the pancreas that has been caused by inflammation of the pancreas known as pancreatitis, pancreatic tumors, or pancreatic surgery. This type of diabetes not only impairs the body's ability to produce insulin, but also to produce proteins that are needed to digest food (known as digestive enzymes) as well as some hormones.
However, the latest research on the issue revealed that most cases of type 3c diabetes were misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Only 3% of people in the study, which looked at data from over 2 million people with diabetes, were correctly identified as having 3c diabetes
Specialized research has found that most people with type 3 diabetes require insulin and, unlike other types of diabetes, benefit from taking digestive enzymes with food. They are taken in the form of tablets with food.