- Diabetes is a historical medical term referring to a syndrome of polyuria. Originally, two distinct diabetic syndromes could be differentiated based on the taste of the produced urine with that of diabetes mellitus tasting sweet, melli being the latin root for sugar. Much later it was recognized that these two diabetic syndromes are the result of fundamentally different etiopathogenic processes; however, the terminology remains in use today.
- Diabetes Mellitus is now recognized to be due to insufficient levels of insulin resulting in a syndrome most prominently characterized by hyperglycemia. Two fundamentally different etiopathogenic processes can result in the syndrome of diabetes mellitus and have been termed Type I and Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Type I DM arises from an autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing cells whereas Type II DM is initially characterized by peripheral tissue resistance to insulin action.
- Diabetes Mellitus is an extremely common disorder and is rising in nearly every country. Type II DM constitutes nearly 90% of cases whereas the remainder are those caused by Type I DM.
- The clinical consequences of DM can occur over two basic time scales: acute and chronic. Diabetes Mellitus Acute Complications only occur in the context of complete insulin absence, manifest in hours to days, and are the result of rapid and total failure of the body to properly metabolize glucose. In contrast, Diabetes Mellitus Chronic Complications whose pathogenesis is poorly understood, manifest over the course of a lifetime, and represent the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in those with Diabetes Mellitus.