WHO Definition of Diabetes Mellitus

diabetes-mellitus-definition according to WHO

WHO definition of diabetes mellitus is that Diabetes mellitus is a serious chronic medical condition that has caused millions of death around the world.

WHO Definition of Diabetes Mellitus

WHO definition of diabetes mellitusDiabetes is a chronic disease affecting over 16 million Americans the largest percentage of any nation on the planet. In recent years, diabetes has been classified as an epidemic because of the rapidity of cases in the population.

About one-third of Americans do not know they even have it. Each year over 800,000 new cases are diagnosed which is 6% of the population.

With the rapidity of new cases, it is projected that by the year 2025 there will be over 9% of the population diagnosed with diabetes.

The costs of treating diabetes run over one-hundred billion dollars each year and that cost is projected to rise dramatically.

Symptoms of diabetes include thirst (the person is almost always thirsty, weight loss may be sudden and dramatic, and frequent urination).

Diabetes is classified into three different categories –

Diabetes Type 1,

Diabetes Type 2 and

Gestational Diabetes.

The differences in each will be explained and discussed further below.

When a person is unable to use the glucose (sugar) and fat in their food for energy diabetes occurs. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream eventually over time severely damaging the organs of the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

If left untreated the patient can suffer severe disability such as loss of limbs or blindness and in extreme cases even death.


Definition of Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes 

Affects 5 to 10% of the population and is the least common type of diabetes. This is 100% insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease meaning the immune system (the body’s defense against pathogens), does not function properly and is destroying the cells in the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin).

Without insulin, the body cannot use the sugar and fat it receives from food. In order to compensate for this, the diabetic must take insulin shots and monitor their blood glucose levels frequently.

Type 2 Diabetes

This is non-insulin dependent diabetes and usually occurs in adulthood. This type of diabetes is where the body makes some insulin but not nearly enough to function properly or use the insulin they do produce effectively.

Type 2 diabetes usually runs in families and normally develops after the age of forty. Persons overweight, older, and lead a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to this type of diabetes. This is a debilitating disease that progressively grows worse if left untreated.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to severe heart disease, kidney disease (serious enough that the patient may require dialysis treatments to keep alive), blindness, amputation (loss of limbs), and in severe circumstances death.

This condition is generally treated in the early stages of diagnosis by having the patient lose weight, change the foods they eat, diet, and regular exercise. Later progression of the disease may require oral medications and or regular insulin injections.

Gestational Diabetes

The last type of diabetes is present in some pregnant women and called Gestational Diabetes. The percentage of women affected by this type of diabetes is about 3 to 5% of all pregnant women.

The good news for this type of diabetes is that it usually ends when the pregnancy is over and the baby is born. Generally, this does not cause birth defects but the baby may be born with low blood sugar. Treatment normally changes in the diet but some women may need insulin.

Regardless of what type of diabetes the patient has, with proper treatment of diabetes and monitoring the person can live a healthy, normal life.

Also Read: Types of Diabetes and its Diagnosis

In fact, diabetes is considered to be the sixth leading cause of death in 2007. It is classified as a metabolism disorder that is characterized by an abnormally high level of sugar or glucose in the blood.


The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that over 346 million people around the globe are suffering from diabetes mellitus excluding those who have not been diagnosed and those who have not to receive medical treatment.

More than 80% of these cases occurred in low-income and middle-income countries.

The World Health Organization predicts that from 2005 to 2030, the mortality rate associated with diabetes will be doubled. In 2008, 36 million deaths were directly linked to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.

Contrary to a common belief, adults are not just the susceptible victims of this disorder.

Clinical and scientific studies revealed that children are at increased risk of suffering from Type 2 diabetes. In fact, there has been a global rise in the incidence of diabetes among children and adolescents.


Also Read: Symptoms of Diabetes in Children

Also, this medical condition does not just affect men. In fact, men and women are equally susceptible to suffering from this chronic and serious medical condition.

Download definition of Diabetes Mellitus pdf

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