Diabetes mellitus (DM), also known as simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood levels over a prolonged period.
Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:
- Type 1 DM results from the body's failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes". The cause is unknown.
- Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as "non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes". The primary cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.
- Gestational diabetes is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.