What Is Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or properly use insulin or both. Diabetes is characterized by persistent "hyperglycemia" or excessive levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream and is also the most prominent disease that is related to a failure of blood glucose regulation. These elevated levels of blood sugar have damaging effects to the body, which lead to the complications of diabetes, the most common being eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy) or nerve damage (neuropathy) and if left untreated diabetes can quickly lead to death.

Other complications related to the effects of diabetes can include:

•  Amputation
•  Blindness
•  Kidney failure
•  Stroke
•  Hypertension (high blood pressure)
•  Heart and blood vessel disease
•  Liver disease
•  Periodontal (gum) disease
•  Biochemical imbalances
•  Increased likelihood of morbidity and mortality from the effects of other diseases or illnesses (such as pneumonia or influenza)

The opposite of hyperglycemia is hypoglycemia, also called reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, both are life threatening conditions.

More information can be found in the Effects of Diabetes section of this web site.