The primary complications of diabetes due to damage in small blood vessels include damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.[32] Damage to the eyes, known as diabetic retinopathy, is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye, and can result in gradual vision loss and eventual blindness.[32] Diabetes also increases the risk of having glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems. It is recommended that diabetics visit an eye doctor once a year.[33] Damage to the kidneys, known as diabetic nephropathy, can lead to tissue scarring, urine protein loss, and eventually chronic kidney disease, sometimes requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.[32] Damage to the nerves of the body, known as diabetic neuropathy, is the most common complication of diabetes.[32] The symptoms can include numbness, tingling, pain, and altered pain sensation, which can lead to damage to the skin. Diabetes-related foot problems (such as diabetic foot ulcers) may occur, and can be difficult to treat, occasionally requiring amputation. Additionally, proximal diabetic neuropathy causes painful muscle atrophy and weakness.
Another kind of diabetes, called gestational diabetes, happens in women who have higher-than-expected blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Once it occurs, it lasts throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Like the other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes happens when the hormone insulin can't efficiently move sugar (glucose) into the body's cells so it can be used as fuel. In gestational diabetes, the body does not respond well to insulin, unless insulin can be produced or provided in larger amounts.
There is currently no cure for diabetes. The condition, however, can be managed so that patients can live a relatively normal life. Treatment of diabetes focuses on two goals: keeping blood glucose within normal range and preventing the development of long-term complications. Careful monitoring of diet, exercise, and blood glucose levels are as important as the use of insulin or oral medications in preventing complications of diabetes. In 2003, the American Diabetes Association updated its Standards of Care for the management of diabetes. These standards help manage health care providers in the most recent recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
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.
Per the WHO, people with fasting glucose levels from 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l (110 to 125 mg/dl) are considered to have impaired fasting glucose.[70] people with plasma glucose at or above 7.8 mmol/l (140 mg/dl), but not over 11.1 mmol/l (200 mg/dl), two hours after a 75 gram oral glucose load are considered to have impaired glucose tolerance. Of these two prediabetic states, the latter in particular is a major risk factor for progression to full-blown diabetes mellitus, as well as cardiovascular disease.[71] The American Diabetes Association (ADA) since 2003 uses a slightly different range for impaired fasting glucose of 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/l (100 to 125 mg/dl).[72]
Retinopathy — Tiny blood vessels in the retina (the part of the eye that sees light) can become damaged by high blood sugar. The damage can block blood flow to the retina, or can lead to bleeding into the retina. Both reduce the retina's ability to see light. Caught early, retinopathy damage can be minimized by tightly controlling blood sugar and using laser therapy. Untreated retinopathy can lead to blindness.
At the end of the test, a health care provider will compare the patient's blood sodium, vasopressin levels, and urine concentration to determine whether the patient has diabetes insipidus. Sometimes, the health care provider may administer medications during the test to see if they increase a patient's urine concentration. In other cases, the health care provider may give the patient a concentrated sodium solution intravenously at the end of the test to increase the patient's blood sodium level and determine if he or she has diabetes insipidus.
Losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a difference, although a sustained weight loss of 7 percent or more of your initial weight seems to be ideal. That means someone who weighs 180 pounds (82 kilograms) would need to lose a little less than 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) to make an impact on blood sugar levels.
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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) resembles type 2 diabetes in several respects, involving a combination of relatively inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It occurs in about 2–10% of all pregnancies and may improve or disappear after delivery.[52] However, after pregnancy approximately 5–10% of women with GDM are found to have DM, most commonly type 2.[52] GDM is fully treatable, but requires careful medical supervision throughout the pregnancy. Management may include dietary changes, blood glucose monitoring, and in some cases, insulin may be required[53]


The earliest surviving work with a detailed reference to diabetes is that of Aretaeus of Cappadocia (2nd or early 3rd century CE). He described the symptoms and the course of the disease, which he attributed to the moisture and coldness, reflecting the beliefs of the "Pneumatic School". He hypothesized a correlation between diabetes and other diseases, and he discussed differential diagnosis from the snakebite, which also provokes excessive thirst. His work remained unknown in the West until 1552, when the first Latin edition was published in Venice.[113]
WELL-CONTROLLED DIABETES MELLITUS: Daily blood sugar abstracted from the records of a patient whose DM is well controlled (hemoglobin A1c=6.4). The average capillary blood glucose level is 104 mg/dL, and the standard deviation is 19. Sixty-five percent of the readings are between 90 and 140 mg/dL; the lowest blood sugar is 67 mg/dL (on April 15) and the highest is about 190 (on March 21).
This information may contain content about medications and, when taken as prescribed, the conditions they treat. When prepared, this content included the most current information available. For updates or for questions about any medications, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toll-free at 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332) or visit www.fda.gov. Consult your health care provider for more information.
Although age of onset and length of the disease process are related to the frequency with which vascular, renal, and neurologic complications develop, there are some patients who remain relatively free of sequelae even into the later years of their lives. Because diabetes mellitus is not a single disease but rather a complex constellation of syndromes, each patient has a unique response to the disease process.
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