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Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of common endocrine diseases characterized by sustained high blood sugar levels.[11][12] Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced.[13] Diabetes, if left untreated, leads to many health complications.[3] Untreated or poorly treated diabetes accounts for approximately 1.5 million deaths per year.[11]

Quick facts: Diabetes, Pronunciation, Specialty, Symptoms,...
A hollow circle with a thick blue border and a clear centre
Universal blue circle symbol for diabetes[1]
  • Metabolic imbalances
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Nerve and brain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Gastrointestinal changes[2][3][4][5]
DurationRemission may occur, but diabetes is often life-long
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
CausesInsulin insufficiency or gradual resistance
Risk factors
Diagnostic method
Frequency463 million (8.8%)[10]
Deaths4.2 million (2019)[10]

There is no widely accepted cure for most cases of diabetes. The most common treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin replacement therapy (insulin injections). Anti-diabetic medications such as metformin and semaglutide, as well as lifestyle modifications, can be used to prevent or respond to type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes normally resolves shortly after delivery.

As of 2019, an estimated 463 million people had diabetes worldwide accounting for 8.8% of the adult population. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of all diabetes cases.[10] The prevalence of the disease continues to increase, most dramatically in low- and middle-income nations.[14] Rates are similar in women and men, with diabetes being the 7th-leading cause of death globally.[15][16] The global expenditure on diabetes-related healthcare is an estimated USD760 billion a year.[17]