Diabetes mellitus is characterised by raised blood glucose levels. It may be classified as:
• Type 1: caused by autoimmune damage to the pancreas
• Type 2: due to insulin resistance, insufficient insulin production, or a combination of both. This is the most common form of diabetes. It is estimated that approximately two thirds of the adult Australian population are overweight and a quarter of adults will eventually develop diabetes.
• Gestational: caused by insulin resistance which worsens during pregnancy due to the release of human placental lactogen
• Secondary: various miscellaneous causes (e.g. pancreatitis, surgery, cancer)
Good blood glucose control has been shown to improve the likelihood of complications such as heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle modification and adherence to therapy has a major impact on health outcomes.
Diabetes insipidus is a condition where the body is unable to retain fluid. It is not related to diabetes mellitus ('sugar diabetes'). Patients experience constant thirst and pass frequent and large amounts of urine. In severe cases the symptoms may include light-headedness, confusion, and collapse, which may even lead to death.
Patients with such symptoms should seek medical attention urgently.