Center for Diabetes Prevention & Care

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Ash Jain, MD, FACC
Thirupathi Reddy, MD, FACC
Adil Irani, MD
Sanjay Bindra, MD, FACC
Lay Hwa Lou, MD
Seema Rikhy, MD
Simin Siddiq, MD
Shaista Shah, MD
Hui Zheng, MD
Sylvia Hoang, MD
Victor Maceda, MD
Archana Bindra, MD
Shakir Hyder, MD
Scott Kramer, MD
Uma Kantamuneni, MD
Micheal Heinrich, MD
Harry Lifschutz, MD
Hae Jin Lim
Aravind Rangaraj, MD
Jeffrey Carlson, MD
Edward Meyer, MD
Jennifer Chiu, MD
Andre Nicolas Gay, MD
Nabil Shafi, MD

Center for Diabetes Prevention and Care

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas 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).

There are three main types of diabetes mellitus (DM).

  • Type 1 Diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, and currently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”.
  • Type 2 Diabetes results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”.
  • The third main form, gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several forms of monogenic diabetes.

Untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. 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 smoking and maintaining a healthy 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 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.

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