Diabetes Mellitus - Overview
Diabetes Mellitus is the umbrella term for both type1 and type 2 diabetes. This disease is related to the pancreas, where the hormone insulin is produced. If insulin is not properly used by the body, it can gather in the blood, where it impacts every organ in the body.
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. With the high obesity rates, combined with an aging population, diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. Many more go undiagnosed because the typical symptoms of the disease can take 7 to 10 years to appear.
Type 1 diabetes may be caused by genetic and environmental factors (possibly viruses). In this disorder, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is the gatekeeper for glucose (blood sugar), which enters the cells to provide energy. When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood. As a result, body's cells literally starve to death. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood-sugar levels.
With type 2 diabetes, the body either cannot make enough insulin, or properly use the insulin it makes. Without insulin, the body cannot move blood sugar into the cells to feed them. It is a chronic disease with no known cure that is often triggered by obesity. It is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90% to 95% of diabetes cases.
A third type of diabetes is gestational. It happens during a pregnancy, when a woman experiences all the symptoms of diabetes, such as thirst and fatigue. Once the baby is delivered, the diabetes disappears.
The diabetic clinics at UAB test and treat diabetes and its complications with a multidisciplinary approach.
- Assessment of beta cell function
- insulin sensitivity
- counter-regulatory responses to hypoglycemia
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Testing (oGTT)
- Frequently Sampled Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Test (fsIVGT)
- Glucagon Stimulated C-Peptide
- Mixed-Meal Tolerance Test
- Insulin Tolerance Test
- Hyperinsulinemic Euglycemic Glucose Clamp
- Hyperglycemic Glucose Clamp
- Hyperinsulinemic Stepped Hypoglycemic Clamp
- Many other dynamic endocrine tests
- Energy expenditure
- Body composition studies
- Performance of percutaneous fat
- Muscle biopsy