Patient Care

Diabetes Specialty Clinic

About Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus represents a group disorders characterized by elevated levels of sugar in the blood. This disease is affecting a growing number of people and is estimated that worldwide about 8.8% of the population or approximately 415 million of the adult population have diabetes. Recognizing and treating this condition is important since diabetes increases the risk of developing disabling and life threatening complications and in most developed countries is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, adult-onset blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.

Diabetes disorders can be classified into four major categories:

  • Type 1 diabetes: previously referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes, this form of diabetes affects mostly children and adolescents. It’s caused by the destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas by the immune system. Insulin replacement therapy is an absolute requirement.
  • Type 2 diabetes: previously referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, this is the main form of diabetes affecting adults. It is characterized by relative insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. Insulin replacement therapy is not an absolute requirement, at least initially.
  • Gestational diabetes: this form refers to diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy and excludes pre-existing diabetes.
  • Other types: Diabetes due to other causes: this group includes for example forms of diabetes caused by genetic defects in the function of insulin producing cells; diseases of pancreas such as cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, hemochromatosis; disease of the endocrine system such as acromegaly, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism; drug or chemical induced, for example by the use of steroids, one of the main causes of diabetes after transplantation.