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What is diabetes? 

What is diabetes?
Chapter:
What is diabetes?
Author(s):

Alexander Wright

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199544967.003.0001
Page of

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date: 21 September 2019

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by raised levels of glucose in the blood. This may result in symptoms of excessive thirst, passing of more urine, loss of weight and loss of energy, and eventually, damage to a number of tissues.

At present diabetes is classified into type 1, type 2, secondary, and those due to other less common causes.

Acute complications occur when plasma glucose levels fall below normal (‘hypoglycaemia’) or are very high with resulting loss of fluid and development of ketones.

Chronic complications may arise with long-term damage to blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, retina, and the lens.

Good control of glucose levels and good management of other vascular ‘risk factors’ can maintain health and prevent or delay long-term complications.

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