More commonly referred to as “diabetes” — a chronic disease associated with abnormally high levels of the sugar glucose in the blood. Diabetes is due to one of two mechanisms:
Inadequate production of insulin (which is made by the pancreas and lowers blood glucose), or
Inadequate sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin.
The two main types of diabetes correspond to these two mechanisms and are called insulin dependent (type 1) and non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes. In type 1 diabetes there is no insulin or not enough of it. In type 2 diabetes, there is generally enough insulin but the cells upon it should act are not normally sensitive to its action.
The signs and symptoms of both types of diabetes include increased urine output and decreased appetite as well as fatigue. Diabetes is diagnosed by blood glucose testing, the glucose tolerance test, and testing of the level of glycosylated hemoglobin (glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C). The mode of treatment depends on the type of the diabetes.
The major complications of diabetes include dangerously elevated blood sugar, abnormally low blood sugar due to diabetes medications, and disease of the blood vessels which can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.
- Diabetes, brittle
Diabetes, brittle: A type of diabetes when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high. Also called “unstable diabetes” or “labile diabetes.”
- Diabetes, gestational
Diabetes, gestational: A diabetic condition that appears during pregnancy and usually goes away after the birth of the baby. Gestational diabetes is best controlled by dietary adjustment. Gestational diabetes can cause birth complications. One complication is macrosomia, in which the baby is considerably larger than normal due to large deposits of fat; such a baby […]
- Diabetes, insulin-dependent
Diabetes, insulin-dependent: Also called type 1 diabetes. See Diabetes, type 1.
- Diabetes, insulin-resistant
Diabetes, insulin-resistant: An autoimmune form of diabetes, in which the body develops an immune response to its own insulin hormone. This form of diabetes is probably the most difficult type to treat, but it can be done. Treatment includes very careful diet, medication, and in experimental cases, immunology treatment.
- Diabetes, labile
Diabetes, labile: A type of diabetes when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high. Also called “unstable diabetes” or “brittle diabetes.”