Is it Time to Rename Type 1 Diabetes?

In 1997, the World Health Organization, the American Diabetes Association and other groups universally adopted new nomenclature for diabetes. Diabetes was no longer to be named by whether or not patients required insulin. The names Insulin-Dependent Diabetes and Childhood Onset Diabetes were changed to Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was then further categorized by whether it resulted from an autoimmune attack (Type 1a) or a non-autoimmune attack (Type 1b). No changes have been made to the labels since that time.

With what we now know about Type 1 diabetes, it is time to define it by its pathophysiology. In other words, we need to label Type 1 diabetes in a way that incorporates all the underlying problems that cause this disease. Currently T1 is defined as a condition in which there is an autoimmune attack on insulin-producing cells, but many scientists no longer believe that this definition adequately portrays what we now know is happening.

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