Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses glucose (blood sugar). Diabetes is one of the most prevalent conditions in the country and recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report as many as 30 million Americans (one in ten) have the disease.
Diabetes type 1 accounts for around one in ten cases of diabetes in the United States, with diabetes type 2 making up the remaining 90 percent. Diabetes is associated with a number of other medical conditions and complications, including diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetes insipidus.
Common symptoms associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes include unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, irritability, frequent infections, and slow healing sores.
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced through lifestyle changes. Risk factors include family history; certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or some viral conditions; age; physical inactivity; obesity; hypertension (high blood pressure); and poor diet.
Patients with prediabetes, can reduce the chance it will develop into type 2 diabetes by eating healthier foods, getting more exercise and losing excess weight. Treatment of diabetes usually involves lifestyle changes, monitoring blood sugar levels, administering insulin, and certain oral or injected medications.
Left untreated or poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to a variety of other medical conditions and health complications, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, skin conditions, and retinopathy (eye damage).