Home blood glucose self-monitoring is indispensable in helping patients to adjust daily insulin doses according to test results and to achieve optimal long-term control of diabetes. Insulin or other hypoglycemic agents are administered as prescribed, and their action and use explained to the patient. With help from a dietitian, a diet is planned based on the recommended amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The amount of carbohydrates consumed is a dietary key to managing glycemic control in diabetes. For most men, 60 to 75 carbohydrate g per meal are a reasonable intake; for most women, 45 to 60 g are appropriate. Saturated fats should be limited to less than 7% of total caloric intake, and trans-fatty acids (unsaturated fats with hydrogen added) minimized. A steady, consistent level of daily exercise is prescribed, and participation in a supervised exercise program is recommended.
Individuals with diabetes have two times the likelihood of getting a urinary tract infection compared to individuals without the disease. If you find yourself getting up every couple of hours in the middle of the night, and you seem to be expelling a lot more urine than you used to, talk to your doctor and find out whether or not you have diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.

Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Jump up ^ McBrien, K; Rabi, DM; Campbell, N; Barnieh, L; Clement, F; Hemmelgarn, BR; Tonelli, M; Leiter, LA; Klarenbach, SW; Manns, BJ (6 August 2012). "Intensive and Standard Blood Pressure Targets in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis". Archives of Internal Medicine. 172 (17): 1–8. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3147. PMID 22868819.
Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake: One of the most important components involved in a diabetes diet is knowing how to eat a modified carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are the nutrient that impacts blood sugars the most. Carbohydrates are found in starches, fruit, some vegetables like potatoes, sweets, and grains. Eating the right kinds of carbohydrate in the right quantities can help you manage your weight and your blood sugars. Knowing how to identify and count carbohydrates is very important in managing diabetes. Eating a consistent carbohydrate diet is ideal because it can help you body regulate blood sugars.
Anal itching is the irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, known as the anus, accompanied by the desire to scratch. Causes include everything from irritating foods we eat, to certain diseases, and infections. Treatment options include medicine including, local anesthetics, for example, lidocaine (Xylocaine), pramoxine (Fleet Pain-Relief), and benzocaine (Lanacane Maximum Strength), vasoconstrictors, for example, phenylephrine 0.25% (Medicone Suppository, Preparation H, Rectocaine), protectants, for example, glycerin, kaolin, lanolin, mineral oil (Balneol), astringents, for example, witch hazel and calamine, antiseptics, for example, boric acid and phenol, aeratolytics, for example, resorcinol, analgesics, for example, camphor and juniper tar, and corticosteroids.

When you have diabetes, your body becomes less efficient at breaking food down into sugar, so you have more sugar sitting in your bloodstream, says Dobbins. “Your body gets rid of it by flushing it out in the urine.” So going to the bathroom a lot could be one of the diabetes symptoms you’re missing. Most patients aren’t necessarily aware of how often they use the bathroom, says Dr. Cypess. “When we ask about it, we often hear, ‘Oh yeah, I guess I’m going more often than I used to,’” he says. But one red flag is whether the need to urinate keeps you up at night. Once or twice might be normal, but if it’s affecting your ability to sleep, that could be a diabetes symptom to pay attention to. Make sure you know these diabetes myths that could sabotage your health.
The classic symptoms of diabetes such as polyuria, polydypsia and polyphagia occur commonly in type 1 diabetes, which has a rapid development of severe hyperglycaemia and also in type 2 diabetes with very high levels of hyperglycaemia. Severe weight loss is common only in type 1 diabetes or if type 2 diabetes remains undetected for a long period. Unexplained weight loss, fatigue and restlessness and body pain are also common signs of undetected diabetes. Symptoms that are mild or have gradual development could also remain unnoticed.
Acute Coronary Syndrome Moderate Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Low Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Myocardial Infarction Stabilization Post Myocardial Infarction Medications Cardiac Rehabilitation Angina Pectoris Heart Failure Causes NYHA Heart Failure Classification Diastolic Heart Failure Systolic Dysfunction Atrial Fibrillation Acute Management Atrial Fibrillation Anticoagulation Coronary Artery Disease Prevention in Diabetes Hypertension in Diabetes Mellitus CHAD Score Hypertension in the Elderly Isolated Systolic Hypertension Hypertension Criteria Hypertension Evaluation History Hypertension Management Hypertension Risk Stratification Resistant Hypertension Hypertension Management for Specific Comorbid Diseases Hypertension Management for Specific Emergencies Bacterial Endocarditis HDL Cholesterol LDL Cholesterol Triglyceride VLDL Cholesterol Hypercholesterolemia Hypertriglyceridemia AntiHyperlipidemic Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Preeclampsia Prevention Congenital Heart Disease Hypertension in Children Medication Causes of Hypertension ACE Inhibitor Angiotensin 2 Receptor Blocking Agent Dihydropyridine Calcium Channel Blocker Nifedipine Selective Aldosterone Receptor Antagonist Niacin HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitor Cardiac Risk Cardiac Risk Management Exercise Stress Test Stress Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Preoperative Cardiovascular Evaluation Eagle's Cardiac Risk Assessment Revised Cardiac Risk Index ACC-AHA Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment ACP Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment Syncope Subclavian Steal Syndrome Periodontitis Oral Health Cellulitis Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection Group A Streptococcal Cellulitis Vibrio Cellulitis Gram-Negative Toe Web Infection Impetigo Skin Infections in Diabetes Mellitus Erythralgia Blister Skin Ulcer Cutaneous Candidiasis Onychomycosis Alopecia Areata Skin Abscess Skin Infection Intertrigo Nail Discoloration Terry's Nail Ingrown Toenail Hyperpigmentation Carotenemia Incision and Drainage Cryotherapy Skin Conditions in Diabetes Mellitus Acanthosis Nigricans Diabetic Dermopathy Granuloma Annulare Necrobiosis Lipoidica Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Metabolic Syndrome Diabetes Mellitus Complications Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Adults Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Children Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State Diabetic Education Diabetes Mellitus Glucose Management Diabetes Mellitus Control in Hospital Diabetes Resources Diabetic Retinopathy Unintentional Weight Loss Unintentional Weight Loss Causes Hypoglycemia Serum Glucose Glucose Challenge Test Glucose Tolerance Test 2 hour Hemoglobin A1C Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Endocrinology Links Diabetic Neuropathy Neonatal Hypoglycemia Obesity Risk Gestational Diabetes Gestational Diabetes Management Gestational Diabetes Perinatal Mortality Diabetes Mellitus Preconception Counseling Obesity in Children Systemic Corticosteroid Medication Causes of Hyperglycemia GlucoWatch Biographer Symlin Inhaled Insulin Somogyi Phenomena Glucophage Human Growth Hormone Orlistat Diabetic Foot Care Nutrition in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy Klinefelter Syndrome Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism Pubertal Delay Exercise in Diabetes Mellitus Perioperative Diabetes Management Obesity Surgery Night Sweats Acute Otitis Externa Bacterial Otitis Externa Necrotizing Otitis Externa Hearing Loss Sensorineural Hearing Loss Vocal Cord Paralysis Thrush Manual Cerumen Removal Sinus XRay Acute Suppurative Sialoadenitis Rhinosinusitis Tinnitus Burning Mouth Syndrome Taste Dysfunction Loss of Smell Dry Mouth Salivary Gland Enlargement Tongue Pain Dysequilibrium Atrophic Glossitis Animal Bite Infected Animal Bite Human Bite Heat Illness Risk Factors Burn Management Trauma in Pregnancy Bacterial Conjunctivitis Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Open Angle Glaucoma Cataract Ischemic Optic Neuritis Vitreous Hemorrhage Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis Floaters Light Flashes Acute Vision Loss Health Concerns in the Elderly Infections in Older Adults Medication Use in the Elderly Failure to Thrive in the Elderly Fall Prevention in the Elderly Irritable Bowel Syndrome Constipation Causes Chronic Diarrhea Traveler's Diarrhea Esophageal Dysmotility Gastroesophageal Reflux Hemochromatosis Pancreatic Cancer Hepatitis C Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Liver Function Test Abnormality Lactase Deficiency Acute Pancreatitis Chronic Pancreatitis Osmotic Laxative Hepatotoxic Medication Traveler's Diarrhea Prophylaxis Pruritus Ani Perirectal Abscess Gastroparesis Whipple Procedure Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Dyspepsia Causes Nausea Causes Contraception HAIR-AN Syndrome Polycystic Ovary Disease Menopause Endometrial Cancer Risk Factor Candida Vulvovaginitis Anovulatory Bleeding Oral Contraceptive Female Sexual Dysfunction Cancer Survivor Care Serum Protein Electrophoresis Perioperative Anticoagulation Cardiovascular Manifestations of HIV HIV Presentation Hepatitis in HIV HIV Related Neuropathy Stavudine Emerging Infection Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Fever of Unknown Origin Candidiasis Neutropenic Fever Hepatitis B Vaccine Influenza Vaccine Postherpetic Neuralgia Fluoroquinolone Third Generation Fluoroquinolone Sulfonamide Travel Preparation Travel Immunization Influenza Dengue Legionella Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Bronchitis Pneumonia in the Elderly Pneumonia Churg-Strauss Syndrome Tuberculin Skin Test Cystic Fibrosis Isoniazid Lung Transplantation in Cystic Fibrosis Active Tuberculosis Treatment Medical Literature Autonomic Dysfunction Bell's Palsy Facial Nerve Paralysis Causes Dementia Agitation in Dementia Ischemic Stroke Stroke Pathophysiology CVA Management Multiple Sclerosis Down Syndrome Cranial Nerve 3 Coma Exam Hemiplegia Giant Cell Arteritis Spinal Headache CSF Protein Altered Level of Consciousness Causes Guillain Barre Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome Triptan Prevention of Ischemic Stroke Nerve Conduction Velocity Paresthesia Causes Peripheral Neuropathy Asymmetric Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral Neuropathy Tremor Neonatal Distress Causes Newborn History Newborn Exam Neonatal Jaundice Causes Respiratory Distress Syndrome in the Newborn Late Pregnancy Loss Preterm Labor First Trimester Bleeding Fetal Macrosomia Hyperemesis Gravidarum Medications in Pregnancy Ritodrine Terbutaline Pregnancy Risk Assessment Probe-to-Bone Test Shoulder History Dupuytren's Disease Septic Bursitis Spinal Infection Osteomyelitis Causes Vertebral Osteomyelitis Patellar Tendinopathy Meralgia Paresthetica Frozen Shoulder Exertional Compartment Syndrome Hip Pain Low Back Pain Red Flag Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Adolescent Health Bullying Ephedrine Ginseng Myoinositol Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Lab Markers of Malnutrition Nutrition Guidelines Glycemic Index Non-nutritive Sweetener Conenzyme Q10 Mortality Statistics Adult Health Maintenance Screening DOT Examination Family History Refugee Health Exam Automobile Safety Substance Abuse Evaluation Alcohol Detoxification in Ambulatory Setting Major Depression Major Depression Differential Diagnosis Anorexia Nervosa Antabuse Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antipsychotic Medication Clozapine Olanzapine Psychosis Insomnia Causes Renal Artery Stenosis Idiopathic Cyclic Edema Acute Kidney Injury Risk Chronic Renal Failure Acute Glomerulonephritis Nephrotic Syndrome Serum Osmolality Hypomagnesemia Drug Dosing in Chronic Kidney Disease Hyperkalemia due to Medications Hyperkalemia Causes Prevention of Kidney Disease Progression Intravenous Contrast Related Acute Renal Failure Osteoporosis Evaluation Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Polymyositis Differential Diagnosis Septic Joint Gouty Arthritis Fibromyalgia Charcot's Joint Charcot Foot Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Osteoarthritis Methotrexate Joint Injection Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Causes Impairment Evaluation Pre-participation History Exercise Exercise in the Elderly Walking Program Scuba Diving Procedural Sedation and Analgesia Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease Peripheral Vascular Disease Management Venous Insufficiency Wound Decubitus Ulcer Foot Wound Leg Ulcer Causes Wound Repair Fishhook Removal Ankle-Brachial Index Preoperative Examination Gallstone Acalculous Cholecystitis Cholecystectomy Small Bowel Obstruction Bowel Pseudoobstruction Abdominal Muscle Wall Pain Abdominal Wall Pain Causes Hydrocolloid Dressing Suture Material Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis Male Infertility Testicular Failure Bladder Cancer Urinary Tract Infection Recurrent Cystitis Acute Bacterial Prostatitis Acute Pyelonephritis Erectile Dysfunction Erectile Dysfunction Causes Erectile Dysfunction Management Urinary Incontinence Overflow Incontinence Urine pH Urine Specific Gravity Enuresis Proteinuria in Children Balanitis Peyronie's Disease Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Vasectomy Counseling Proteinuria Causes Targeted Cancer Therapy Acute Paronychia Chronic Paronychia Urinary Retention Decreased Visual Acuity Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Diabetes Mellitus Shoulder Osteoarthritis Vitiligo Cardiomyopathy Heart Transplant Contraceptive Selection in Diabetes Mellitus Periodontal Bleeding Perioperative Antiplatelet Therapy Charlson Comorbidity Index Constipation Causes in the Elderly Chronic Osteomyelitis Abnormal Gait and Balance Causes in the Elderly Calcium Channel Blocker Overdose Diverticular Bleeding Framingham Cardiac Risk Scale Cardiac Risk in Diabetes Score Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index Four Year Prognostic Index Diabetes Screening ABCD2 Score Urine Microalbumin Hearing Loss in Older Adults Preoperative Guidelines for Medications Prior to Surgery Contrast-Induced Nephropathy Risk Score Hyperlipidemia in Diabetes Mellitus Diamond and Forrester Chest Pain Prediction Rule Coronary Risk Stratification of Chest Pain Diabetes Sick Day Management Urinary Tract Infection in Geriatric Patients Insulinlike Growth Factor 1 Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head Family Practice Notebook Updates 2014 Emergency Care in ESRD Medication Compliance Slit Lamp Sulfonamide Allergy Health Care of the Homeless CHADS2-VASc Score Tuberculosis Risk Factors for progression from Latent to Active Disease Family Practice Notebook Updates 2015 Wound Infection Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Toxic Shock Syndrome Tetanus ASA Physical Status Classification System Family Practice Notebook Updates 2016 Solid Organ Transplant Calcineurin Inhibitor Cardiac Pacemaker Infection DAPT Score Acute Maculopathy Medication Causes of Delirium in the Elderly Family Practice Notebook Updates 2017 Major Bleeding Risk With Anticoagulants Severe Asymptomatic Hypertension Chronic Wound Family Practice Notebook Updates Stable Coronary Artery Disease Nocturia Polyuria Hyperhidrosis Causes Pneumaturia Anemia in Older Adults Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children
Damage to small blood vessels can affect the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Damage to eyes, specifically the retina, is called diabetic retinopathy and is the leading cause of blindness. Damage to the kidneys, called diabetic nephropathy, can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis. Damage to the nerves that supply the legs and arms and gastrointestinal tract is called diabetic neuropathy. Some people with diabetes who develop peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the legs) and have poor blood flow to the legs may eventually need an amputation.
DM is a strong independent predictor of short- and long-term recurrent ischemic events, including mortality, in acute coronary syndrome (ACS),6,7 including unstable angina and non-ST-elevation MI (NSTEMI),8 ST-elevation MI (STEMI) treated medically,9 and ACS undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).10,11 Furthermore, the concomitant presence of cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities that negatively affect the outcomes of ACS is higher in DM patients.12
The definition of a genetic disease is a disorder or condition caused by abnormalities in a person's genome. Some types of genetic inheritance include single inheritance, including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Marfan syndrome, and hemochromatosis. Other types of genetic diseases include multifactorial inheritance. Still other types of genetic diseases include chromosome abnormalities (for example, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome), and mitochondrial inheritance (for example, epilepsy and dementia).
Random blood sugar test. A blood sample will be taken at a random time. Blood sugar values are expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Regardless of when you last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher suggests diabetes, especially when coupled with any of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination and extreme thirst.

Doctors can also measure the level of a protein, hemoglobin A1C (also called glycosylated or glycolated hemoglobin), in the blood. Hemoglobin is the red, oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells. When blood is exposed to high blood glucose levels over a period of time, glucose attaches to the hemoglobin and forms glycosylated hemoglobin. The hemoglobin A1C level (reported as the percentage of hemoglobin that is A1C) reflects long-term trends in blood glucose levels rather than rapid changes.
The causes of diabetes mellitus are unclear, however, there seem to be both hereditary (genetic factors passed on in families) and environmental factors involved. Research has shown that some people who develop diabetes have common genetic markers. In Type I diabetes, the immune system, the body's defense system against infection, is believed to be triggered by a virus or another microorganism that destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. In Type II diabetes, age, obesity, and family history of diabetes play a role.
Although some people with this type of diabetes are thin, the majority of people (90%) are overweight. Losing weight, even 2 kg to 5 kg (5 lbs to 10 lbs) can help lower blood glucose levels. For many people, following a healthy diet and an exercise program may be all that is needed to help control glucose levels. For others, healthy eating and exercise alone aren't enough to lower blood glucose levels.
The classic symptoms of diabetes such as polyuria, polydypsia and polyphagia occur commonly in type 1 diabetes, which has a rapid development of severe hyperglycaemia and also in type 2 diabetes with very high levels of hyperglycaemia. Severe weight loss is common only in type 1 diabetes or if type 2 diabetes remains undetected for a long period. Unexplained weight loss, fatigue and restlessness and body pain are also common signs of undetected diabetes. Symptoms that are mild or have gradual development could also remain unnoticed.

Get Educated: The American Diabetes Association advises that all persons with diabetes receive diabetes self-management education (DSME) at diagnosis and thereafter. A certified diabetes educator or other qualified health professional can give you the tools you need to understand and take care of your diabetes. In addition, these individuals are trained to create a customized plan that works for you. Diabetes self-management education is a patient-centered approach that enables patients to get involved in their care.
The development of type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors.[24][26] While some of these factors are under personal control, such as diet and obesity, other factors are not, such as increasing age, female gender, and genetics.[10] A lack of sleep has been linked to type 2 diabetes.[27] This is believed to act through its effect on metabolism.[27] The nutritional status of a mother during fetal development may also play a role, with one proposed mechanism being that of DNA methylation.[28] The intestinal bacteria Prevotella copri and Bacteroides vulgatus have been connected with type 2 diabetes.[29]
One of the most common ways people with type 2 diabetes attempt to lower their blood sugar is by drastically reducing their intake of carbs. The ADA agrees that carbohydrate counting is essential if you have diabetes, but extreme diets like the ketogenic diet, which reduces carb intake to as little as 5 percent of your daily calories, can be risky for some people with diabetes. (36)
Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if you have diabetes in your family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease. If you've already received a diagnosis of diabetes, you can use healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent complications. And if you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or halt the progression from prediabetes to diabetes.
Diagnosis. The most common diagnostic tests for diabetes are chemical analyses of the blood such as the fasting plasma glucose. Capillary blood glucose monitoring can be used for screening large segments of the population. Portable equipment is available and only one drop of blood from the fingertip or earlobe is necessary. Capillary blood glucose levels have largely replaced analysis of the urine for glucose. Testing for urinary glucose can be problematic as the patient may have a high renal threshold, which would lead to a negative reading for urinary glucose when in fact the blood glucose level was high.
Lifestyle factors are important to the development of type 2 diabetes, including obesity and being overweight (defined by a body mass index of greater than 25), lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, and urbanization.[10][30] Excess body fat is associated with 30% of cases in those of Chinese and Japanese descent, 60–80% of cases in those of European and African descent, and 100% of cases in Pima Indians and Pacific Islanders.[13] Among those who are not obese, a high waist–hip ratio is often present.[13] Smoking appears to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.[31]
There are a number of medications and other health problems that can predispose to diabetes.[39] Some of the medications include: glucocorticoids, thiazides, beta blockers, atypical antipsychotics,[40] and statins.[41] Those who have previously had gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.[23] Other health problems that are associated include: acromegaly, Cushing's syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, and certain cancers such as glucagonomas.[39] Testosterone deficiency is also associated with type 2 diabetes.[42][43]
Many older people have difficulty following a healthy, balanced diet that can control blood glucose levels and weight. Changing long-held food preferences and dietary habits may be hard. Some older people have other disorders that can be affected by diet and may not understand how to integrate the dietary recommendations for their various disorders.
Recently, battery-operated insulin pumps have been developed that can be programmed to mimic normal insulin secretion more closely. A person wearing an insulin pump still must monitor blood sugar several times a day and adjust the dosage, and not all diabetic patients are motivated or suited to such vigilance. It is hoped that in the future an implantable or external pump system may be perfected, containing a glucose sensor. In response to data from the sensor the pump will automatically deliver insulin according to changing levels of blood glucose.
Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. The Merck Manual was first published in 1899 as a service to the community. The legacy of this great resource continues as the Merck Manual in the US and Canada and the MSD Manual outside of North America. Learn more about our commitment to Global Medical Knowledge.
2. Home glucose monitoring using either a visually read test or a digital readout of the glucose concentration in a drop of blood. Patients can usually learn to use the necessary equipment and perform finger sticks. They keep a daily record of findings and are taught to adjust insulin dosage accordingly. More recent glucose monitoring devices can draw blood from other locations on the body, such as the forearm.
Diagnosis. The most common diagnostic tests for diabetes are chemical analyses of the blood such as the fasting plasma glucose. Capillary blood glucose monitoring can be used for screening large segments of the population. Portable equipment is available and only one drop of blood from the fingertip or earlobe is necessary. Capillary blood glucose levels have largely replaced analysis of the urine for glucose. Testing for urinary glucose can be problematic as the patient may have a high renal threshold, which would lead to a negative reading for urinary glucose when in fact the blood glucose level was high.

Dietary factors also influence the risk of developing type 2 DM. Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in excess is associated with an increased risk.[46][47] The type of fats in the diet is also important, with saturated fat and trans fats increasing the risk and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat decreasing the risk.[45] Eating lots of white rice, and other starches, also may increase the risk of diabetes.[48] A lack of physical activity is believed to cause 7% of cases.[49]
A 2009 study shows how genetic information may shed light on the environment-gene interactions that lead to type 1. In the study, researchers found that one of the type 1 genes mediates the immune system's response to viruses. This finding supported the longtime hypothesis that a virus may somehow make the immune system attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in people who are genetically susceptible to developing diabetes.

The more common form of diabetes, Type II, occurs in approximately 3-5% of Americans under 50 years of age, and increases to 10-15% in those over 50. More than 90% of the diabetics in the United States are Type II diabetics. Sometimes called age-onset or adult-onset diabetes, this form of diabetes occurs most often in people who are overweight and who do not exercise. It is also more common in people of Native American, Hispanic, and African-American descent. People who have migrated to Western cultures from East India, Japan, and Australian Aboriginal cultures also are more likely to develop Type II diabetes than those who remain in their original countries.


Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level by promoting the uptake of glucose into body cells. In patients with diabetes, the absence of insufficient production of or lack of response to insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime.


In addition to learning about diabetes itself, older people may have to learn how to fit management of diabetes in with their management of other disorders. Learning about how to avoid complications, such as dehydration, skin breakdown, and circulation problems, and to manage factors that can contribute to complications of diabetes, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, is especially important. Such problems become more common as people age, whether they have diabetes or not.

A study by Mayer-Davis et al indicated that between 2002 and 2012, the incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus saw a significant rise among youths in the United States. According to the report, after the figures were adjusted for age, sex, and race or ethnic group, the incidence of type 1 (in patients aged 0-19 years) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (in patients aged 10-19 years) during this period underwent a relative annual increase of 1.8% and 4.8%, respectively. The greatest increases occurred among minority youths. [29]
Kidney disease: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 33 percent of people with diabetes have chronic kidney disease. Diabetes can also damage blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing function. The kidneys play a vital role in balancing fluid levels and removing waste from the body. Kidney health is therefore vital for preserving overall health.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are too high to be considered normal but not high enough to be labeled diabetes. People have prediabetes if their fasting blood glucose level is between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL or if their blood glucose level 2 hours after a glucose tolerance test is between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL. Prediabetes carries a higher risk of future diabetes as well as heart disease. Decreasing body weight by 5 to 10% through diet and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing future diabetes.
Research continues on diabetes prevention and improved detection of those at risk for developing diabetes. While the onset of Type I diabetes is unpredictable, the risk of developing Type II diabetes can be reduced by maintaining ideal weight and exercising regularly. The physical and emotional stress of surgery, illness, pregnancy, and alcoholism can increase the risks of diabetes, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to preventing the onset of Type II diabetes and preventing further complications of the disease.
Excessive thirst typically goes hand-in-hand with increased urination. As your body pulls water out of the tissues to dilute your blood and to rid your body of sugar through the urine, the urge to drink increases. Many people describe this thirst as an unquenchable one. To stay hydrated, you drink excessive amounts of liquids. And if those liquids contain simple sugars (soda, sweet iced tea, lemonade, or juice, for example) your sugars will skyrocket even higher.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by specialized cells (beta cells) of the pancreas. (The pancreas is a deep-seated organ in the abdomen located behind the stomach.) In addition to helping glucose enter the cells, insulin is also important in tightly regulating the level of glucose in the blood. After a meal, the blood glucose level rises. In response to the increased glucose level, the pancreas normally releases more insulin into the bloodstream to help glucose enter the cells and lower blood glucose levels after a meal. When the blood glucose levels are lowered, the insulin release from the pancreas is turned down. It is important to note that even in the fasting state there is a low steady release of insulin than fluctuates a bit and helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level during fasting. In normal individuals, such a regulatory system helps to keep blood glucose levels in a tightly controlled range. As outlined above, in patients with diabetes, the insulin is either absent, relatively insufficient for the body's needs, or not used properly by the body. All of these factors cause elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
DM affects at least 16 million U.S. residents, ranks seventh as a cause of death in the United States, and costs the national economy over $100 billion yearly. The striking increase in the prevalence of DM in the U.S. during recent years has been linked to a rise in the prevalence of obesity. About 95% of those with DM have Type 2, in which the pancreatic beta cells retain some insulin-producing potential, and the rest have Type 1, in which exogenous insulin is required for long-term survival. In Type 1 DM, which typically causes symptoms before age 25, an autoimmune process is responsible for beta cell destruction. Type 2 DM is characterized by insulin resistance in peripheral tissues as well as a defect in insulin secretion by beta cells. Insulin regulates carbohydrate metabolism by mediating the rapid transport of glucose and amino acids from the circulation into muscle and other tissue cells, by promoting the storage of glucose in liver cells as glycogen, and by inhibiting gluconeogenesis. The normal stimulus for the release of insulin from the pancreas is a rise in the concentration of glucose in circulating blood, which typically occurs within a few minutes after a meal. When such a rise elicits an appropriate insulin response, so that the blood level of glucose falls again as it is taken into cells, glucose tolerance is said to be normal. The central fact in DM is an impairment of glucose tolerance of such a degree as to threaten or impair health. Long recognized as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, DM is often associated with other risk factors, including disorders of lipid metabolism (elevation of very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and depression of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), obesity, hypertension, and impairment of renal function. Sustained elevation of serum glucose and triglycerides aggravates the biochemical defect inherent in DM by impairing insulin secretion, insulin-mediated glucose uptake by cells, and hepatic regulation of glucose output. Long-term consequences of the diabetic state include macrovascular complications (premature or accelerated atherosclerosis with resulting coronary, cerebral, and peripheral vascular insufficiency) and microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy). It is estimated that half those with DM already have some complications when the diagnosis is made. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening for DM for people with risk factors such as obesity, age 45 years or older, family history of DM, or history of gestational diabetes. If screening yields normal results, it should be repeated every 3 years. The diagnosis of DM depends on measurement of plasma glucose concentration. The diagnosis is confirmed when any two measurements of plasma glucose performed on different days yield levels at or above established thresholds: in the fasting state, 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L); 2 hours postprandially (after a 75-g oral glucose load) or at random, 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L). A fasting plasma glucose of 100-125 mg/dL (5.5-6.9 mmol/L) or a 2-hour postprandial glucose of 140-199 mg/dL (7.8-11 mmol/L) is defined as impaired glucose tolerance. People with impaired glucose tolerance are at higher risk of developing DM within 10 years. For such people, lifestyle modification such as weight reduction and exercise may prevent or postpone the onset of frank DM. Current recommendations for the management of DM emphasize education and individualization of therapy. Controlled studies have shown that rigorous maintenance of plasma glucose levels as near to normal as possible at all times substantially reduces the incidence and severity of long-term complications, particularly microvascular complications. Such control involves limitation of dietary carbohydrate and saturated fat; monitoring of blood glucose, including self-testing by the patient and periodic determination of glycosylated hemoglobin; and administration of insulin (particularly in Type 1 DM), drugs that stimulate endogenous insulin production (in Type 2 DM), or both. The ADA recommends inclusion of healthful carbohydrate-containing foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk in a diabetic diet. Restriction of dietary fat to less than 10% of total calories is recommended for people with diabetes, as for the general population. Further restriction may be appropriate for those with heart disease or elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The ADA advises that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have no particular merit in long-term weight control or in maintenance of a normal plasma glucose level in DM. Pharmaceutical agents developed during the 1990s improve control of DM by enhancing responsiveness of cells to insulin, counteracting insulin resistance, and reducing postprandial carbohydrate absorption. Tailor-made insulin analogues produced by recombinant DNA technology (for example, lispro, aspart, and glargine insulins) have broadened the range of pharmacologic properties and treatment options available. Their use improves both short-term and long-term control of plasma glucose and is associated with fewer episodes of hypoglycemia. SEE ALSO insulin resistance
Given the diverse peculiarities involving the issue, studies have shown that Diabetes mellitus has been extensively investigated in its pathophysiological aspects, highlighting the search for strong evidence that can be used in the clinical practice of the Primary Care nurse, with attributions focused on health promotion, prevention of complications, treatment and rehabilitation of the health of individuals and community, carried out in an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary manner (Matumoto, Fortuna, Kawata, Mishima, & Pereira, 2011; Florianopolis, 2015).

Brittle diabetics are a subgroup of Type I where patients have frequent and rapid swings of blood sugar levels between hyperglycemia (a condition where there is too much glucose or sugar in the blood) and hypoglycemia (a condition where there are abnormally low levels of glucose or sugar in the blood). These patients may require several injections of different types of insulin during the day to keep the blood sugar level within a fairly normal range.


Not all people with diabetes need drug therapy. A healthy eating plan and exercise alone can be enough if the person makes significant lifestyle changes. Other signs, symptoms, and complications also may need treatment. For example, nutritional deficiencies should be corrected, heart or kidney disease may need to be treated, and vision must be checked for eye problems like diabetic retinopathy.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
History of diabetes: Past treatments and new discoveries Diabetes has been known for at least 2,000 years. Over the years, treatments have included exercise, riding on horseback, drinking wine, consuming milk or rice, opium, and overfeeding. It was not until 1921 that insulin was introduced as a treatment. Science has progressed, but diabetes remains a major health problem. Read now
There are a number of medications and other health problems that can predispose to diabetes.[39] Some of the medications include: glucocorticoids, thiazides, beta blockers, atypical antipsychotics,[40] and statins.[41] Those who have previously had gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.[23] Other health problems that are associated include: acromegaly, Cushing's syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, and certain cancers such as glucagonomas.[39] Testosterone deficiency is also associated with type 2 diabetes.[42][43]
Doctors may recommend one or more types of medications to help control diabetes. While taking medications, it's important for people with diabetes to regularly test their blood glucose levels at home. There are many different blood glucose meters available on the market. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist about these meters to help you select the best meter for your needs.
Type 1 diabetes is partly inherited, with multiple genes, including certain HLA genotypes, known to influence the risk of diabetes. In genetically susceptible people, the onset of diabetes can be triggered by one or more environmental factors,[41] such as a viral infection or diet. Several viruses have been implicated, but to date there is no stringent evidence to support this hypothesis in humans.[41][42] Among dietary factors, data suggest that gliadin (a protein present in gluten) may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, but the mechanism is not fully understood.[43][44]
In this health topic, we explain the dangers of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, and diabetes. Hyperglycemia causes many of the warning signs of diabetes listed above. Hyperglycemia may be caused by skipping or forgetting your insulin or diabetes medicine, eating too many grams of carbs for the amount of insulin administered, simply eating too many grams of carbs in general, or from stress or infections.
×