Diabetes mellitus, often known simply as diabetes, is a group of common endocrine diseases characterized by sustained high blood sugar levels. Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body becoming unresponsive to the hormone’s effects. Classic symptoms include thirst, polyuria, weight loss, and blurred vision. If left untreated, the disease can lead to various health complications, including disorders of the cardiovascular system, eye, kidney, and nerves. Untreated or poorly treated diabetes accounts for approximately 1.5 million deaths every year.
The major types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2, though other forms also exist. The most common treatment for type 1 is insulin replacement therapy (insulin injections), while anti-diabetic medications (such as metformin and semaglutide) and lifestyle modifications can be used to manage type 2. Gestational diabetes, a form that arises during pregnancy in some women, normally resolves shortly after delivery.
As of 2021, an estimated 537 million people had diabetes worldwide accounting for 10.5% of the adult population, with type 2 making up about 90% of all cases. The prevalence of the disease continues to increase, most dramatically in low- and middle-income nations. Rates are similar in women and men, with diabetes being the 7th-leading cause of death globally. The global expenditure on diabetes-related healthcare is an estimated US$760 billion a year.