About Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia). In diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in your blood to get into your muscle and other cells to produce energy. If sugar can’t get into the cells to be used, it builds up in the bloodstream. Therefore, diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependent, immune-mediated or juvenile-onset diabetes, and always requires treatment with insulin injections. It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas. The reason why this occurs is not fully understood. People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. The disease can affect people of any age, but usually occurs in children or young adults.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood and is sometimes called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes.. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often Type 2 diabetes may require antidiabetic medicine and/or insulin injections. The diagnosis of type 2 diabetes usually occurs after the age of 40 but can occur earlier, especially in populations with high diabetes prevalence. Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for many years and the diagnosis is often made from associated complications or incidentally through an abnormal blood or urine glucose test. It is often, but not always, associated with obesity, which itself can cause insulin resistance and lead to elevated blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is hyperglycaemia that is first recognized during pregnancy. It is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy and is associated with complications in the period immediately before and after birth. GDM usually disappears after pregnancy but women with GDM and their offspring are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Approximately half of women with a history of GDM go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery.
World Health Organization – fact sheet - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/index.html
World Health Organization – multimedia - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/multimedia/en/