Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a general term for a variety of different metabolic disorders that affect the ability of the body to process and use sugarproperly. Medically, this is referred to as an inability of the body tometabolize glucose effectively. This results in an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood, called hyperglycemia.
Leftuntreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious long-term complications, such as kidney failure, blindness, serious skin infections, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, birth defects, stroke, disability, and death.Currently, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Complications of diabetes can be minimized or possibly eliminated by prompt diagnosis and effective ongoing treatment.
Thecauses, symptoms, complications, and management of diabetes vary depending on the specific type of diabetes. The major types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.The earliest form of type 2 diabetes is called prediabetes. Some forms of diabetes, such as type 2 diabetes, are becoming more common. In general, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is rising in theU.S. and will increase 165 percent by 2050, according to the CDC.
The hormone insulin is a key player in diabetes. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, an endocrine gland located in the upperabdomen. Insulin's role is to facilitate the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. In type 1 diabetes the cells that make insulin in the pancreas aredestroyed. In type 2 diabetes the body still produces insulin, but the body's cells become resistant to its effects. In gestational diabetes, the body still makes insulin, but the hormones that areproduced during pregnancy make the body's cells more resistant to it.
Symptoms of diabetes can vary by type but may include excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, slow healing wounds, blurred...