Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic disorders caused by impaired ability of the body to produce or respond to insulin, resulting in abnormal glucose levels in the blood.
Diabetes is caused by either the pancreas’ insufficient insulin production, or the cells defective response to the insulin produced. Symptoms of diabetes include an increase in hunger, in thirst and in urination frequency. Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state and diabetic ketoacidosis are some common acute complications. Long-term complications include diabetic eye disease, foot ulcers, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Three main types of diabetes can be found: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes in which little or none insulin is secreted by the pancreas, due to the destruction of the beta cells of the pancreatic islets by the body immune system. This type can be characterized as immune-mediated. Treatment of Type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, which may be followed in a later stage by reduced insulin secretion. This lack of response to insulin is believed to involve defective insulin receptors. Common causes include genetics and lifestyle factors (such as diet and physical activity). Type 2 diabetes is partly preventable through the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.
Gestational diabetes also combines inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood glucose levels. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the end of the pregnancy.