Diabetes Mellitus (DM)

What is Diabetes Mellitus (DM)?

Diabetes Mellitus is a disease of the pancreas, which is located behind the stomach and which is responsible for producing the hormone insulin. Insulin assists the body with using food for energy.

Diabetes means that the pancreas is using the insulin incorrectly or is failing to produce enough insulin. Insulin works to deliver glucose into the cells to be burned up as energy. When there is an insufficient level of insulin glucose levels rise because the glucose cannot enter the bodies cells to be burned up fuel.

Diabetes is also referred to as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. It is estimated that about 6 percent or 17 million Americans are dealing with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is known to be the sixth leading cause of death within the United States and can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, and amputation of the lower extremities. Diabetes can also result in a higher risk for developing heart disease and strokes.

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a term that refers to a series of metabolic conditions that lead to hyperglycemia.

The common forms of diabetes are Type 1 (caused by the immune system that erroneously attacks the beta cells of the pancreas), Type 2 (when the body cannot use the insulin produced by the pancreas), Gestational Diabetes (which is temporary and manifest itself only during pregnancy) and LADA (Type 1.5) or latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (a form of late-onset of Type 1 diabetes that presents similarities with Type 2 diabetes).

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus (DM)?

Common symptoms include: Frequent urination, fatigue, decreased appetite, unexplained weight loss, excessive hunger, extremely dry skin, sores that fail to heal quickly, sudden changes in vision, feeling tired all the time, tingling or numbness in the feet or hands, and an unusually high number of infections.

How is Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Treated?

The condition is not reversible (with the exception of the gestational form which is only temporary) and require continuous monitoring and treatment of the symptoms.

Treatment includes

Maintaining normal glucose levels and controlling cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Patients must monitor their blood sugar levels daily, watch their diets, keep physically active, monitor oral medications, manage weight and stress, and self-administer insulin via pump or injection if required.

Juvenile-onset diabetes (Type 1) is a forms of DM that always requires insulin while symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise. However, severe forms of Type 2 diabetes also require insulin injections if oral medication is not effective.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017