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What is diabetes?


Diabetes is actually not merely one condition, but rather a group of diseases. All of these are metabolic diseases, and in them the patient has elevated levels of blood sugar (glucose). High blood sugar concentrations can be due to insufficient production of insulin, or non-response to the insulin by the cells. Three major kinds of diabetes are known:

Type 1 diabetes

This used to be known as juvenile diabetes. It is also known as the insulin-dependent form of this disease. This condition is brought on when the patient does not produce sufficient levels of the insulin hormone.

Type 2 diabetes

This disease occurs when the cells do not respond normally to insulin -- a situation known as insulin resistance. Insulin deficiency, however, can also be involved. It used to be known as the adult-onset form, as well as by the name of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Gestational diabetes

In the gestational kind, this disease takes place in pregnant women who were not previously diabetic. During pregnancy, their blood sugar levels are elevated. There are often few symptoms noted in this kind, and screening occurring during the pregnancy is frequently when it is discovered.

In the United States, the most common form is easily type 2, as a minimum of 90 percent of the diabetic population has this kind. Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital, steroid, and monogenic types. According to the World Health Organization, in the year 2000, there were an estimated 2000 cases of diabetes, worldwide. India was the most affected with over 31 million cases, while there were greater than 20 million in China, and above 17 million in the United States.

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