Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by hyperglycemia, which is an increase of sugars (glucose) in the blood caused by a reduced insulin secretion by the pancreas or by a combination of reduced insulin secretion and the peripheral tissues’ resistance to insulin.
Diabetes mellitus has recently assumed a greater social importance due to the increase of the diseases incidence. This is connected also to our current lifestyle which, following economic growth, has become more and more sedentary and has favoured excessive nutrition compared to energy requirements.
It has been calculated that in the US alone, 15 million people are affected by this disease.
In Italy, there are almost 2 million.
Types of Diabetes:
From 1979 the classification is based in part to aetiology (cause) and in part to the pharmacological therapy used for the treatment of the disease.
There are basically two main forms of diabetes:
- type 1 Diabetes, which affects young people, and where insulin is required because the pancreas does not produce it;
- type 2 Diabetes mainly affects the elderly, and is usually characterized by an excess of weight and it is treated with oral anti-diabetics and diet. In some cases an insulin treatment is required.