There are three main types of diabetes mellitus (DM).
Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to Genetics|genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of Glucocorticoid|glucocorticoids, and several forms of MODY|monogenic diabetes.
Untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute (medical)|Acute complications include diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and diabetic retinopathy (retinal damage). Adequate treatment of diabetes is thus important, as well as blood pressure control and lifestyle factors such as stopping tobacco smoking|smoking and maintaining a healthy human weight|body weight.
All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became available in 1921, and type 2 diabetes may be controlled with medications. Insulin and some oral medications can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugars), which can be dangerous if severe. Both types 1 and 2 are Chronic (medicine)|chronic conditions that cannot be cured.* Pancreas transplants have been tried with limited success in type 1 DM; gastric bypass surgery has been successful in many with morbid obesity and type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after delivery.
ClassificationDiabetes mellitus is classified into four broad categories: Diabetes mellitus type 1|type 1, Diabetes mellitus type 2|type 2, gestational diabetes and "other specific types".* The "other specific types" are a collection of a few dozen individual causes.* The term "diabetes", without qualification, usually refers to diabetes mellitus. The rare disease diabetes insipidus has similar symptoms to diabetes mellitus, but without disturbances in the sugar metabolism (insipidus means "without taste" in Latin) and does not involve the same disease mechanisms.
The term "type 1 diabetes" has replaced several former terms, including childhood-onset diabetes, juvenile diabetes, and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Likewise, the term "type 2 diabetes" has replaced several former terms, including adult-onset diabetes, obesity-related diabetes, and noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Beyond these two types, there is no agreed-upon standard nomenclature.
Type 1 diabetesType 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, leading to insulin deficiency. This type can be further classified as immune-mediated or idiopathic. The majority of type 1 diabetes is of the immune-mediated nature, in which beta cell loss is a T-cell-mediated autoimmunity|autoimmune attack.* There is no known preventive measure against type 1 diabetes, which causes approximately 10% of diabetes mellitus cases in North America and Europe. Most affected people are otherwise healthy and of a healthy weight when onset occurs. Sensitivity and responsiveness to insulin are usually normal, especially in the early stages. Type 1 diabetes can affect children or adults, but was traditionally termed "juvenile diabetes" because a majority of these diabetes cases were in children.
"Brittle" diabetes, also known as unstable diabetes or labile diabetes, is a term that was traditionally used to describe the dramatic and recurrent swings in glucose levels, often occurring for no apparent reason in insulin-dependent diabetes. This term, however, has no biologic basis and should not be used.* There are many reasons for type 1 diabetes to be accompanied by irregular and unpredictable hyperglycemia, frequently with ketosis, and sometimes serious hypoglycemia, including an impaired counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia, occult infection, gastroparesis (which leads to erratic absorption of dietary carbohydrates), and endocrinopathies (e.g., Addison's disease).* These phenomena are believed to occur no more frequently than in 1% to 2% of persons with type 1 diabetes.*
Type 2 diabetesType 2 diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin resistance, which may be combined with relatively reduced insulin secretion.* The defective responsiveness of body tissues to insulin is believed to involve the insulin receptor. However, the specific defects are not known. Diabetes mellitus cases due to a known defect are classified separately. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type.
In the early stage of type 2, the predominant abnormality is reduced insulin sensitivity. At this stage, hyperglycemia can be reversed by a variety of measures and Anti-diabetic drug|medications that improve insulin sensitivity or reduce glucose production by the liver.
Gestational diabetesGestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) resembles type 2 diabetes in several respects, involving a combination of relatively inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It occurs in about 2–5% of all pregnancy|pregnancies and may improve or disappear after delivery. Gestational diabetes is fully treatable, but requires careful medical supervision throughout the pregnancy. About 20–50% of affected women develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Though it may be transient, untreated gestational diabetes can damage the health of the fetus or mother. Risks to the baby include macrosomia (high birth weight), congenital cardiac and central nervous system anomalies, and skeletal muscle malformations. Increased fetal insulin may inhibit fetal surfactant production and cause Infant respiratory distress syndrome|respiratory distress syndrome. Hyperbilirubinemia may result from red blood cell destruction. In severe cases, perinatal death may occur, most commonly as a result of poor placental perfusion due to vascular impairment. Labor induction may be indicated with decreased placental function. A Caesarean section may be performed if there is marked fetal distress or an increased risk of injury associated with macrosomia, such as shoulder dystocia.
A 2008 study completed in the U.S. found the number of American women entering pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes is increasing. In fact, the rate of diabetes in expectant mothers had more than doubled from 1999 to 2005.* This is particularly problematic as diabetes raises the risk of complications during pregnancy and increases the potential for the children of diabetic mothers to become diabetic in the future.
Other typesPrediabetes indicates a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 DM. Many people destined to develop type 2 DM spend many years in a state of prediabetes which has been termed "America's largest healthcare epidemic."*
Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) is a condition in which type 1 DM develops in adults. Adults with LADA are frequently initially misdiagnosed as having type 2 DM, based on age rather than etiology (medicine)|etiology.
Some cases of diabetes are caused by the body's tissue receptors not responding to insulin (even when insulin levels are normal, which is what separates it from type 2 diabetes); this form is very uncommon. Genetic mutations (Autosomal dominant|autosomal or mitochondrial) can lead to defects in beta cell function. Abnormal insulin action may also have been genetically determined in some cases. Any disease that causes extensive damage to the pancreas may lead to diabetes (for example, chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis). Diseases associated with excessive secretion of insulin receptor|insulin-antagonistic hormones can cause diabetes (which is typically resolved once the hormone excess is removed). Many drugs impair insulin secretion and some toxins damage pancreatic beta cells. The ICD-10 (1992) diagnostic entity, malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus (MRDM or MMDM, ICD-10 code E12), was deprecated by the World Health Organization when the current taxonomy was introduced in 1999.*
Signs and symptomsThe classic symptoms of untreated diabetes are loss of weight, polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).* Symptoms may develop rapidly (weeks or months) in type 1 diabetes, while they usually develop much more slowly and may be subtle or absent in type 2 diabetes.
Prolonged high blood glucose can cause glucose absorption in the lens of the eye, which leads to changes in its shape, resulting in vision changes. Blurred vision is a common complaint leading to a diabetes diagnosis. A number of skin rashes that can occur in diabetes are collectively known as diabetic dermadromes.
Diabetic emergenciesPeople (usually with type 1 diabetes) may also present with diabetic ketoacidosis, a state of metabolic dysregulation characterized by the smell of acetone, a rapid, deep breathing known as Kussmaul breathing, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and altered states of consciousness.
A rare but equally severe possibility is Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma|hyperosmolar nonketotic state, which is more common in type 2 diabetes and is mainly the result of dehydration.
ComplicationsAll forms of diabetes increase the risk of long-term complications. These typically develop after many years (10–20), but may be the first symptom in those who have otherwise not received a diagnosis before that time. The major long-term complications relate to damage to blood vessels. Diabetes doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.* The main Macrovascular disease|"macrovascular" diseases (related to atherosclerosis of larger arteries) are ischemic heart disease (angina and myocardial infarction), stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
Diabetes also damages the capillaries (causes microangiopathy).* Diabetic retinopathy, which affects blood vessel formation in the retina of the eye, can lead to visual symptoms including reduced vision and potentially blindness. Diabetic nephropathy, the impact of diabetes on the kidneys, can lead to glomerulosclerosis|scarring changes in the kidney tissue, loss of Microalbuminuria|small or progressively Proteinuria|larger amounts of protein in the urine, and eventually chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis.
Another risk is diabetic neuropathy, the impact of diabetes on the peripheral nervous system|nervous system — most commonly causing numbness, tingling and pain in the feet, and also increasing the risk of skin damage due to altered sensation. Together with vascular disease in the legs, neuropathy contributes to the risk of diabetic foot|diabetes-related foot problems (such as diabetic foot ulcers) that can be difficult to treat and occasionally require amputation. As well, proximal diabetic neuropathy causes painful muscle wasting and weakness.
Several studies suggest* a link between cognitive deficit and diabetes. Compared to those without diabetes, the research showed that those with the disease have a 1.2 to 1.5-fold greater rate of decline in cognitive function, and are at greater risk.
CausesThe cause of diabetes depends on the type.
Type 1 diabetes is partly inherited, and then triggered by certain infections, with some evidence pointing at Coxsackie B4 virus. A genetic element in individual susceptibility to some of these triggers has been traced to particular Human leukocyte antigen|HLA genotypes (i.e., the genetic "self" identifiers relied upon by the immune system). However, even in those who have inherited the susceptibility, type 1 DM seems to require an environmental trigger. The onset of type 1 diabetes is unrelated to lifestyle.
Type 2 diabetes is due primarily to lifestyle factors and genetics.*The following is a comprehensive list of other causes of diabetes:*
PathophysiologyInsulin is the principal hormone that regulates uptake of glucose from the blood into most cells (primarily muscle and fat cells, but not central nervous system cells). Therefore, deficiency of insulin or the insensitivity of its Receptor (biochemistry)|receptors plays a central role in all forms of diabetes mellitus.
Humans are capable of digesting some Carbohydrate metabolism|carbohydrates, in particular those most common in food; starch, and some disaccharides such as sucrose, are converted within a few hours to simpler forms, most notably the monosaccharide glucose, the principal carbohydrate energy source used by the body. The rest are passed on for processing by gut flora largely in the colon. Insulin is released into the blood by beta cells (ß-cells), found in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, in response to rising levels of blood glucose, typically after eating. Insulin is used by about two-thirds of the body's cells to absorb glucose from the blood for use as fuel, for conversion to other needed molecules, or for storage.
Insulin is also the principal control signal for conversion of glucose to glycogen for internal storage in liver and muscle cells. Lowered glucose levels result both in the reduced release of insulin from the ß-cells and in the reverse conversion of glycogen to glucose when glucose levels fall. This is mainly controlled by the hormone glucagon, which acts in the opposite manner to insulin. Glucose thus forcibly produced from internal liver cell stores (as glycogen) re-enters the bloodstream; muscle cells lack the necessary export mechanism. Normally, liver cells do this when the level of insulin is low (which normally correlates with low levels of blood glucose).
Higher insulin levels increase some anabolism|anabolic ("building up") processes, such as cell growth and duplication, protein biosynthesis|protein synthesis, and lipid|fat storage. Insulin (or its lack) is the principal signal in converting many of the bidirectional processes of metabolism from a catabolism|catabolic to an anabolic direction, and vice versa. In particular, a low insulin level is the trigger for entering or leaving ketosis (the fat-burning metabolic phase).
If the amount of insulin available is insufficient, if cells respond poorly to the effects of insulin (insulin insensitivity or resistance), or if the insulin itself is defective, then glucose will not have its usual effect, so it will not be absorbed properly by those body cells that require it, nor will it be stored appropriately in the liver and muscles. The net effect is persistent high levels of blood glucose, poor protein synthesis, and other metabolic derangements, such as acidosis.
When the glucose concentration in the blood is raised to about 9-10 mmol/L (except certain conditions, such as pregnancy), beyond its renal threshold (i.e. when glucose level surpasses the transport maximum of glucose reabsorption), reabsorption of glucose in the proximal tubule|proximal renal tubuli is incomplete, and part of the glucose remains in the urine (glycosuria). This increases the osmotic pressure of the urine and inhibits reabsorption of water by the kidney, resulting in increased urine production (polyuria) and increased fluid loss. Lost blood volume will be replaced osmotically from water held in body cells and other body compartments, causing dehydration and increased thirst.
DiagnosisDiabetes mellitus is characterized by recurrent or persistent hyperglycemia, and is diagnosed by demonstrating any one of the following:*
People with fasting glucose levels from 110 to 125 mg/dl (6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l) are considered to have impaired fasting glycemia|impaired fasting glucose.* Patients with plasma glucose at or above 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L), but not over 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L), two hours after a 75 g oral glucose load are considered to have impaired glucose tolerance. Of these two prediabetic states, the latter in particular is a major risk factor for progression to full-blown diabetes mellitus, as well as cardiovascular disease.*Glycated hemoglobin is better than fasting glucose for determining risks of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.*
ManagementDiabetes mellitus is a chronic disease, for which there is no known cure except in very specific situations. Management concentrates on keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal ("euglycemia") as possible, without causing hypoglycemia. This can usually be accomplished with diet, exercise, and use of appropriate medications (insulin in the case of type 1 diabetes; oral medications, as well as possibly insulin, in type 2 diabetes).
Patient education, understanding, and participation is vital, since the complications of diabetes are far less common and less severe in people who have well-managed blood sugar levels.* The goal of treatment is an HbA1C level of 6.5%, but should not be lower than that, and may be set higher.* Attention is also paid to other health problems that may accelerate the deleterious effects of diabetes. These include tobacco smoking|smoking, hypercholesterolemia|elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, hypertension|high blood pressure, and lack of regular exercise.* orthotics|Specialised footwear is widely used to reduce the risk of ulceration, or re-ulceration, in at-risk diabetic feet. Evidence for the efficacy of this remains equivocal, however.*
LifestyleThere are roles for patient education, dietetic support, and sensible exercise, with the goal of keeping both short-term and long-term blood glucose levels Diabetes management#Glycemic control|within acceptable bounds. In addition, given the associated higher risks of cardiovascular disease, lifestyle modifications are recommended to control blood pressure.*
MedicationsMetformin is generally recommended as a first line treatment for type 2 diabetes, as there is good evidence that it decreases mortality.* Routine use of aspirin, however, has not been found to improve outcomes in uncomplicated diabetes.*Type 1 diabetes is typically treated with a combinations of regular and NPH insulin, or synthetic insulin analogs. When insulin is used in type 2 diabetes, a long-acting formulation is usually added initially, while continuing oral medications.* Doses of insulin are then increased to effect.*
SupportIn countries using a general practitioner system, such as the United Kingdom, care may take place mainly outside hospitals, with hospital-based specialist care used only in case of complications, difficult blood sugar control, or research projects. In other circumstances, general practitioners and specialists share care of a patient in a team approach. Home telehealth support can be an effective management technique.*
EpidemiologyGlobally, , an estimated 285 million people had diabetes, with type 2 making up about 90% of the cases.* Its incidence is increasing rapidly, and by 2030, this number is estimated to almost double.* Diabetes mellitus occurs throughout the world, but is more common (especially type 2) in the more developed countries. The greatest increase in prevalence is, however, expected to occur in Asia and Africa, where most patients will probably be found by 2030.* The increase in incidence in developing countries follows the trend of urbanization and lifestyle changes, perhaps most importantly a "Western-style" diet. This has suggested an environmental (i.e., dietary) effect, but there is little understanding of the mechanism(s) at present, though there is much speculation, some of it most compellingly presented.*
HistoryDiabetes was one of the first diseases described,* with an Egyptian manuscript from Circa|c. 1500 Common Era|BCE mentioning "too great emptying of the urine".* The first described cases are believed to be of type 1 diabetes.* Indian physicians around the same time identified the disease and classified it as madhumeha or "honey urine", noting the urine would attract ants.* The term "diabetes" or "to pass through" was first used in 230 BCE by the Greek Apollonius (physician)|Appollonius of Memphis.* The disease was considered rare during the time of the Roman empire, with Galen commenting he had only seen two cases during his career.* This is possibly due the diet and life-style of the ancient people, or because the clinical symptoms were observed during the advanced stage of the disease. Galen named the disease "diarrhea of the urine" (diarrhea urinosa). The earliest surviving work with a detailed reference to diabetes is that of Aretaeus of Cappadocia (2nd or early 3rd century CE). He described the symptoms and the course of the disease, which he attributed to the moisture and coldness, reflecting the beliefs of the "Pneumatic School". He hypothesized a correlation of diabetes with other diseases and he discussed differential diagnosis from the snakebite which also provokes excessive thirst. His work remained unknown in the West until the middle of the 16th century when, in 1552, the first Latin edition was published in Venice.*Type 1 and type 2 diabetes were identified as separate conditions for the first time by the Indian physicians Sushruta and Charaka in 400-500 CE with type 1 associated with youth and type 2 with being overweight.* The term "mellitus" or "from honey" was added by the Briton John Rolle in the late 1700s to separate the condition from diabetes insipidus, which is also associated with frequent urination.* Effective treatment was not developed until the early part of the 20th century, when Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best isolated and purified insulin in 1921 and 1922.* This was followed by the development of the long-acting insulin NPH in the 1940s.*
EtymologyThe word diabetes ( or ) comes from Latin diabetes, which in turn comes from Ancient Greek d?aß?t? (diabetes) which literally means "a passer through; a siphon."* Ancient Greece|Ancient Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (Floruit|fl. 1st century Common Era|CE) used that word, with the intended meaning "excessive discharge of urine", as the name for the disease.* Ultimately, the word comes from Greek d?aßa?e? (diabainein), meaning "to pass through,"* which is composed of d?a- (dia-), meaning "through" and ßa?e? (bainein), meaning "to go".* The word "diabetes" is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425.
The word wikt:mellitus|mellitus ( or ) comes from the classical Latin word mellitus, meaning "mellite"* (i.e. sweetened with honey;* honey-sweet*). The Latin word comes from mell-, which comes from mel, meaning "honey";* sweetness;* pleasant thing,* and the suffix -itus,* whose meaning is the same as that of the English suffix "-ite".* It was Thomas Willis who in 1675 added "mellitus" to the word "diabetes" as a designation for the disease, when he noticed the urine of a diabetic had a sweet taste (glycosuria).* This sweet taste had been noticed in urine by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Persians.
Society and cultureThe 1989 "St. Vincent Declaration"* was the result of international efforts to improve the care accorded to those with diabetes. Doing so is important not only in terms of quality of life and life expectancy, but also economically—expenses due to diabetes have been shown to be a major drain on health—and productivity-related resources for healthcare systems and governments.
Several countries established more and less successful national diabetes programmes to improve treatment of the disease.*Diabetic patients with neuropathic symptoms such as Paresthesia|numbness or tingling in feet or handsare twice as likely to be unemployed as those without the symptoms.*