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Diabetes Mellitus

Incidence Of Diabetes, Types Of Diabetes, Pre-diabetes, Tests For Diabetes, Treatment For DiabetesHistory of diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood resulting from defects in insulin production (insulin deficiency), insulin action (insulin resistance), or both. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. When eaten, foods are converted to a type of sugar called glucose that enters the bloodstream. Insulin is needed to move glucose into the body cells where it is used for energy, and excesses are stored in the liver and fat cells. Insufficient amounts of working insulin cause blood sugar levels to rise and large amounts of glucose are excreted in the urine. Consistently high levels of glucose in the bloodstream damage the nerves and blood vessels, and can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, amputations, and dental disease.

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. Diabetes can be associated with serious complications and death, but people with diabetes can take an active role in controlling the disease and lowering the risk of complications.

The history of diabetes mellitus dates back to ancient Egypt, where its symptoms were described around 2000 B.C. The Greeks later gave the disease its name in the first century A.D. The word diabetes means siphon, which describes a major symptom of the condition, frequent urination. Mellitus means honey, and depicts one of the early signs of diabetes, sugar in the urine.

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