Diabetes Mellitus - What Does it Mean?

Definition of diabetes
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Definition: DM, or diabetes mellitus, is the full medical term for all of the different forms of diabetes. Diabetes was known even in ancient times. In fact, the word diabetes was used about 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians. Although people back then didn't know what caused diabetes, they knew that it made urine and blood sweet. The word mellitus means honey, or sweet. It was added by Thomas Willis  in 1675 after rediscovering the sweetness of urine and blood of patients (first noticed by the ancient Indians).

Are There Different Kinds of Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitius used to include sub types such as type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes , and gestational diabetes only. But, with the rise in pediatric obesity we have seen an increased incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Children. And as we continue to make advancements in medicine we are learning more about the disease. Scientists have discovered that there are other forms of diabetes caused by gene mutations. These include: 

Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA)

Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)

Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (NDM)

What are the Most Common Forms of Diabetes? 

The Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 29.1 million people have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5% of this population. The most common form of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes. In adults, Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.


For More Information About Type 2 Diabetes: 

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

5 Key Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

What to Do if You've Been Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone with Diabetes Needs Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME)

Learn How to Take Your Diabetes Seriously


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History of diabetes mellitus. Saudi Med J. 2002 Apr;23(4):373-8. Accessed on-line. October 30, 2015: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11953758

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Monogenic Forms of Diabetes:Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus and Maturity-onset Diabetes of the Young. Accessed on-line. October 31, 2015: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/monogenic-forms-diabetes-neonatal-diabetes-mellitus-maturity-onset-diabetes-young/Pages/index.aspx

Center for Disease Control. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Accessed on-line. October 31, 2015: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf