Diabetes mellitus

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Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Please refer to the full text of the Wikiversity medical disclaimer.

Diabetes mellitus refers to a number of diseases that have in common elevated blood sugar levels.


Diabetes is a disease defined as the human body’s inability to produce or to properly use the hormone insulin. Insulin converts sugar also know as glucose, as well as starches found in food into energy. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia (see below). There are many forms of diabetes (Pre-diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes) and thousands of undiagnosed people world-wide.


Following diagnosis, a change in attitude and behaviour is required to ensure a healthy quality of life. The most important treatment (as with any disease) is to follow instruction from qualified health care providers. To successfully manage diabetes, it is important to educate one's self, family, and friends to be proactive in one's care and regime. For many people, being proactive before diagnosis, by exercising and watching their diet, reduces the likelihood of acquiring the disease. Even so, exercise and watching one's diet can dramatically and positively affect the quality of life for those with various types of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is also treated with insulin sensitizing pills and/or injections with exogenous insulin. When managing diabetes with insulin, it is important to use just enough to dispose of the glucose from catabolized from dietary carbohydrates and glycogen stored in the liver. Hypoglycemia (see below) typically occurs only in diabetic individuals who inject too much insulin.


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Things that can be done to lower one's risk of diabetes include:

  • Lose weight (if overweight)
  • Become active, walk, or exercise regularly
  • Eat a well balanced diet of low fat meals.


Hypoglycemia means low glucose in the blood. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:

  • shakiness
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • hunger
  • headaches
  • sudden mood swings or behavior changes
  • jerky movements of muscles
  • confusion.


Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood. Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia can include:

  • a very dry mouth with extreme thirst
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath.

See also[edit]

Diabetes and the heart


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