Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2)

Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Quick Overview

Patient Comments
  • Diabetes is a condition characterized by the body's inability to regulate glucose (sugar) levels in blood.
  • In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin.
  • People with type 2 diabetes can produce insulin, but the body is not able to use the insulin effectively.
  • Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include
  • The cause of type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction. Combinations of genetic risk factors and unhealthy lifestyle choices cause type 2 diabetes.
  • The main diagnostic test for diabetes is measurement of the blood glucose level.
  • Changes in lifestyle and diet may be adequate to control some cases of type 2 diabetes. Others with type 2 diabetes require medications. Insulin is essential treatment for type 1 diabetes.
  • No effective approach yet exists to prevent type 1 diabetes. Prevention of type 2 diabetes can be accomplished in some cases by
    • maintaining a healthy weight,
    • exercising,
    • sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Prediabetes is a condition that can occur before development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Complications of any type of diabetes include damage to blood vessels, leading to heart disease or kidney disease. Damage to blood vessels in the eye can result in vision problems including blindness. Nerve damage can occur, leading to diabetic neuropathy.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a set of related diseases in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar (specifically, glucose) in the blood.

The blood delivers glucose to provide the body with energy to perform all daily activities.

  • The liver converts the food a person eats into glucose. The glucose is then released into the bloodstream from the liver between meals.
  • In a healthy person, several hormones tightly regulate the blood glucose level, primarily insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a small organ between the stomach and liver. The pancreas also releases other important enzymes directly into the gut to help digest food.
  • Insulin allows glucose to move out of the blood into cells throughout the body, where it is used for fuel.
  • People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), cannot use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes), or both (various forms of diabetes).
  • In diabetic patients, glucose cannot move efficiently from the blood into cells, so blood glucose levels remain high. This not only starves all the cells, which need the glucose for fuel, but also harms certain organs and tissues exposed to the high glucose levels over time.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2)

Aortic Aneurysm
Aortic Aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a medical emergency. Abnormal enlargement or bulging of the learn more >>

Diabetes: Caring for Your Diabetes at Special Times
Caring for Your Diabetes at Special Time Be prepared to manage your diabetes, and control blood sugar and symptoms when you're sick, when you're at work or school, when traveling, during pregnancy, or ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2):

Diabetes - Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of diabetes can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms and signs at the onset of diabetes?

Diabetes Treatment - Effective Treatments

What treatments have been effective for your diabetes?

Diabetes - Experience

Share your experience with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes - Lifestyle Changes

What type of diabetes do you have (type 1 or type 2), and what lifestyle changes, for example, diet, exercise, or special glucose monitoring, have been effective in managing your diabetes?

Diabetes - Treatment Medications

What type of diabetes do you have, and what medications have been effective in managing the disease?

Non-starchy vegetables make up a large portion of the diet of those with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Diet

A healthy eating plan is an essential part of any diabetes treatment plan, but there is no one recommended "diabetic diet" for everyone. An individual nutrition plan will depend on many things, including underlying health and level of physical activity, the types of medication(s) being taken, and personal preference. Most people with type 2 diabetes find that having a fairly regular schedule for meals and snacks is helpful. Eating a variety of foods and watching portion sizes is also recommended.

Examples of meal planning tools that some people with type 2 diabetes like to use include

  • the plate method,
  • carbohydrate counting, or the
  • glycemic index.


Medical Dictionary