Diabetes mellitus (pronounced /ˌdaɪ.əˈbiːtiːz/ or /ˌdaɪ.əˈbiːtɨs/; /mɨˈlaɪtəs/ or /ˈmɛlɨtəs/)—often referred to simply as diabetes—is a disease in which the body does not produce enough, or properly respond to, insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to turn sugar and other food into energy. In diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugar to accumulate in the blood, often leading to various complications. The American Diabetes Association reported in 2009 that there are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States—7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million in the US alone have been diagnosed with diabetes, nearly one in four (5.7 million) diabetics are unaware that they have the disease.
Many types of diabetes are recognized: The principal three are:
All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became medically available in 1921, but there is no cure for the common types except a pancreas transplant, although gestational diabetes usually resolves after delivery. Diabetes and its treatments can cause many complications. Acute complications including hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or nonketotic hyperosmolar coma may occur if the disease is not adequately controlled. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, retinal damage, which can lead to blindness, several types of nerve damage, and microvascular damage, which may cause erectile dysfunction and poor wound healing. Poor healing of wounds, particularly of the feet, can lead to gangrene, and possibly to amputation. Adequate treatment of diabetes, as well as increased emphasis on blood pressure control and lifestyle factors such as not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight, may improve the risk profile of most of the chronic complications. In the developed world, diabetes is the most significant cause of adult blindness in the non-elderly and the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation in adults, and diabetic nephropathy is the main illness requiring renal dialysis in the United States.