Diabetes mellitus

General or Other | Endocrinology and Metabolism | Diabetes mellitus (Disease)


A patient that suffers from diabetes has a chronic disease in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar properly. As a result, blood sugar levels become abnormally high. Blood sugar, or glucose, is an important source of energy for all cells in the body. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin regulates the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

The three main types of diabetes mellitus (DM) are:

(1) Type 1 DM results from the bodys failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin. (Also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile diabetes)

(2) Type 2 DM results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. (Formerly referred to as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes)

(3) Gestational diabetes is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

Causes and Risk factors

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

Over time, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. These types of damage are the result of damage to small vessels, referred to as microvascular disease. Diabetes is also an important factor in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to strokes, coronary heart disease, and other large blood vessel diseases. This is referred to as macrovascular disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Glucose measurements are performed from time to time and as a fasting level first thing in the morning. A hemoglobin A1C can measure the success of controlling the glucose level over time.

Sometimes type 2 diabetes can be managed by lifestyle changes such as losing weight, diet control, and exercise. Hypoglycemics are the type of medications that are normally used. Insulin may be needed to control the glucose levels. ...