Introduction to Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes happens because the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because the body does not properly use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas of the body to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.
There are many risk factors for diabetes, including:

  • Age over 45 years
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Family History of Diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes (Pregnancy related)
  • Heart disease
  • High blood cholesterol level
  • Obesity
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Polycystic ovary disease (in women)
  • Previous impaired glucose tolerance

Diabetes must not be confused with the condition called DIABETES INSIPIDUS. Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a condition characterized by excessive thirst and excretion of large amounts of severely diluted urine. Diabetes insipidus is caused by

  • Excessive intake of fluid
  • A defect in Anti Diuretic Hormone (ADH) production
  • A defect in the kidneys' response to Anti Diuretic Hormone  (ADH)

Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes
    It results from the body's failure to produce insulin, leading to insulin deficiency and hence constant high levels of blood glucose (sugar). The exact cause is unknown. Genetics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may play a role.
  1. Type 2 diabetes
    It results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly the body does not respond well to insulin produced leading to an increased level of blood sugar in the body. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to increasing obesity and failure to exercise.
  1. Gestational diabetes
    It develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. It may lead to the development of type 2 DM. It may occur in about 2%–5% of all pregnancies and may improve or disappear after delivery.

Signs / Symptoms of Diabetes
Common symptoms of both major types of diabetes:

  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia) 
  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Excessive eating (polyphagia)
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infections
  • Altered mental status 
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Related Tests to Diabetes

  • Urine analysis 
  • Fasting blood glucose level
  • Hemoglobin A1c test (Measure of average blood glucose during the previous 2 - 3 months)
  • Oral glucose tolerance test 
  • Random (non-fasting) blood glucose level

Synonyms for Diabetes

  • Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes; Childhood-onset diabetes; Juvenile diabetes; Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) 
  • Type 2 diabetes; Adult-onset diabetes; Obesity-related diabetes; Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
  • Type 3 diabetes; Gestational diabetes; Insulin-resistant type 1 diabetes ; double diabetes; type 2 diabetes
  • Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (or LADA type 1.5" diabetes)