Definition of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.
High blood levels of glucose can cause several problems, including:
Signs and tests
A urine analysis may be used to look for glucose and ketones from the breakdown of fat. However, a urine test alone does not diagnose diabetes.
The immediate goals are to treat diabetic ketoacidosis and high blood glucose levels. Because type 1 diabetes can start suddenly and have severe symptoms, people who are newly diagnosed may need to go to the hospital.
With good blood glucose and blood pressure control, many of the complications of diabetes can be prevented.
Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/10/2010