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Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus)

A disease in which the body does not control the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood and the kidneys make a large amount of urine. This disease occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it the way it should.

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(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a complex group of diseases with a variety of causes. People with diabetes have high blood glucose, also called high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism - the way the body uses digested food for energy. The digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates - sugars and starches found in many foods - into glucose, a form of sugar that enters the bloodstream. With the help of the hormone insulin, cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy. Diabetes develops when the body doesn't make enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively, or both...Read more about Diabetes NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Glinides in the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2: Executive summary of final report A05-05C, Version 1.0

The aims of this research were the comparative benefit assessments of long-term treatment with: nateglinide or repaglinide in each case vs. placebo or no treatment, nateglinide or repaglinide in each case vs. another glucose-lowering drug or non-drug treatment, and nateglinide or repaglinide vs. each other in each case in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2.

Rapid-acting insulin analogues in children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus type 1 – follow-up commission: Executive summary of final report A08-01, Version 1.0

The aims of this investigation were to assess the benefit of long-term treatment with insulin aspart, insulin glulisine or insulin lispro, each compared to a treatment with short-acting human insulin, and to conduct a comparative benefit assessment of the 3 above-mentioned RAIs compared with each other, in each case in children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus type 1, focusing on patient-relevant outcomes.

Rapid-acting insulin analogues for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2: Executive summary of final report A05-04, Version 1.0

The aim of this benefit assessment was to compare the effects of long-term treatment with rapid-acting insulin analogues (RAIs) vs. short-acting regular human insulin (RHI) (and also compare the effects of different RAIs with each other) with regard to patient-relevant outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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Summaries for consumers

Insulin degludec (Tresiba) for diabetes mellitus: Overview

Insulin degludec (trade name: Tresiba) has been approved in Germany since January 2013 for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. The drug is a long-acting insulin. It is used to regulate blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours.

Oral anti‐diabetic agents for women with pre‐existing diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance or previous gestational diabetes mellitus

Pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy, such as miscarriage or large babies and preterm birth. Being pregnant can trigger diabetes in women with impaired glucose tolerance or can accelerate the development of diabetic complications in women who are already diabetic. Women who have gestational diabetes are at risk of developing diabetes later in life. This means that management is important for women with diabetes and also for women with impaired glucose tolerance or previously diagnosed gestational diabetes.

Interventions for improving adherence to treatment recommendations in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Twenty‐one studies assessing interventions to improve adherence to treatment recommendations, not to diet or exercise, in people with type 2 diabetes in different settings (outpatients, community, hospitals, primary care) were included. There were many outcomes evaluated in these studies and a variety of adherence measurement instruments was used. Nurse led interventions, home aids, diabetes education and pharmacy led interventions showed a very small effect on some outcomes including metabolic control. No data on mortality or morbidity, nor on quality of life could be found.

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Terms to know

A hormone produced by the pancreas that increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Glucose (Dextrose)
A simple sugar the body manufactures from carbohydrates in the diet. Glucose is the body's main source of energy.
Higher than normal amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Hyperglycemia can be a sign of diabetes or other conditions. Also called high blood sugar.
Also called low blood glucose, a condition that occurs when one's blood glucose is lower than normal, usually below 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion.
A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.
Insulin Resistance
The body's inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.
An organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.

More about Diabetes

Photo of an adult

Also called: DM

See Also: Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, Blood Glucose Montoring

Other terms to know: See all 7
Glucagon, Glucose (Dextrose), Hyperglycemia

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