Medical Definition of Diabetes

Our Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Main Article provides a comprehensive look at the who, what, when and how of Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)

Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria).

The word "diabetes" is from the Greek word meaning "a siphon" because people with diabetes "passed water like a siphon."

When "diabetes" is used alone, it refers to diabetes mellitus. The two main types of diabetes mellitus -- insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes and adult-onset type 2 diabetes -- are distinct and different diseases in themselves.

Quick GuideType 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication

Medically reviewed by Martin Zipser, MD; Board Certified: Surgery

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Last Editorial Review: 5/12/2014

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