Diabetes (also known as hyperglycemia) is a broad term for a condition that causes the body’s blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to offset the body’s level of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for the resistance, but over time the pancreas often isn't able to sustain normal blood glucose levels. The treatment for type 2 diabetes varies depending on age, severity, medical history, and even personal preferences, but it can include physical activity and weight loss, nutritional changes, and either oral or injected medications and/or insulin.

With type 1 diabetes the body does not produce insulin. Previously known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes usually is diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can develop at any age. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. Those with type 1 diabetes generally must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor blood sugar levels.

Another form, called gestational diabetes, is sometimes developed during pregnancy, usually during week 20-24, by women who didn’t have diabetes before. It may require varying degrees of treatment and/or lifestyle and dietary changes similar to what is indicated for type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes subsides following delivery.

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Diabetes is not a simple disease to treat. It affects numerous systems throughout the body, and patients and their families can spend weeks arranging appointments with specialists, visiting clinics, and undergoing tests. UAB Medicine’s Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Diabetes Clinic (MCDC) helps change that. The clinic offers the expertise and compassion of UAB Medicine’s top specialists in a single, comprehensive visit, so you can see several specialists in one day, including an endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedic surgeon, nutritionist, social worker, and other specialists as needed.

Located on the first floor of The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, the clinic is an arm of the UAB Medicine Comprehensive Diabetes Center, which is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as one of only a handful of diabetes research and training centers in the country. The knowledge gleaned from our clinical trials and cutting-edge research is rapidly integrated into the clinical practice, so patients benefit from the latest discoveries in diabetes treatments for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

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Clinical Trials

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information on clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov.

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