Overview of Diabetes Mellitus

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Chapter: Biochemistry : Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (“diabetes”) is not one disease, but rather is a heterogeneous group of multifactorial, polygenic syndromes characterized by an elevated fasting blood glucose (FBG) caused by a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin.


OVERVIEW OF DIABETES MELLITUS

Diabetes mellitus (“diabetes”) is not one disease, but rather is a heterogeneous group of multifactorial, polygenic syndromes characterized by an elevated fasting blood glucose (FBG) caused by a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin. Nearly 26 million people in the United States (about 8% of the population) have diabetes. Of this number, approximately 7 million are as yet undiagnosed. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness and amputation and a major cause of renal failure, nerve damage, heart attacks, and strokes. Most cases of diabetes mellitus can be separated into two groups (Figure 25.1), type 1 ([T1D] formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and type 2 ([T2D] formerly called noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus). The incidence and prevalence of T2D is increasing because of the aging of the U.S. population and the increasing prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The increase in children with T2D is particularly disturbing.


Figure 25.1 Comparison of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. [Note: The name of the disease reflects the clinical presentation of copious amounts of glucose-containing urine and is derived from the Greek word for siphon (diabetes) and the Latin word for honey-sweet (mellitus).]

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