What is Diabetes? Types, Definitions, Epidemiology, Diagnosis

  • Charles M. Peterson
  • Lois Jovanovic
Part of the Developments in Nephrology book series (DINE, volume 9)


Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by elevated blood glucose. At present it is not possible to classify these disorders by etiology, but the National Diabetes Data Group has provided guidelines for the classification of the various forms based on the pathophysiology of the hyperglycemia (see table 1–1). Type I diabetes mellitus is best conceptualized as total pancreatic failure in terms of ability to make insulin. This type of diabetes tends to occur before the age of 30. Since there is very little insulin available, persons with this type of diabetes have a vulnerability toward ketoacidosis, and often the diagnosis is made with the onset of the disease concomitant with an episode of ketoacidosis. The diagnosis of type I diabetes mellitus is generally not difficult. The young patient who presents with elevated blood glucose and ketonuria seldom needs further evaluation to determine the type of diabetes. Following treatment of the acute onset episode, there may be considerable return of pancreatic insulin output (the “honeymoon period”), but within five years insulin secretion will generally be undetectable.


Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Gestational Diabetes Islet Cell Antibody Elevated Blood Glucose National Diabetes Data Group 
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Selected Bibliography

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles M. Peterson
  • Lois Jovanovic

There are no affiliations available

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