Description of the disease
Diabetes is known to be a heterogeneous disorder which has characteristics of persistent hyperglycemia. There are two major types of diabetes that include type 1 diabetes previously referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes and type 2 diabetes previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes. These types of diabetes are known to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetical risk factors. However, we have other diabetes rare forms that are seen to be inherited directly. They include diabetes that result from mutations in the mitochondrial DNA and ‘‘maturity onset diabetes in the young’’ (MODY). All diabetes forms are known to have a drastic impact on health besides the effects related to abnormal glucose metabolism (e.g., protein glycosylation, hyperlipidemia). A number of diabetes related complications which are long term do exist. They include renal, ocular, peripheral vascular and neurologic cardiovascular abnormalities, and they are associated to premature death, disability and morbidity in young adults. More so, the disease is linked to reproductive complications that have an effect on both the mothers together with their children. Despite improved glycemic control that is able to reduce the risk of developing complications such as these; diabetes is still seen to be a very significant cause of psychological, financial and social burdens globally (Bell and Polonsky 2001).
History of the disease
Diabetes has been recognized for over 2000 years for being a deadly and devastating disease. In the 1st century A.D. Aretaeus, a Greek described the destructive nature of the disease whereby he named it as ‘‘diabetes.’’ This was from a Greek word ‘‘siphon’’ (Bell and Polonsky 2001). In the ancient times, physicians such as Aretaeus, recognized the diabetes symptoms but never had the capacity of treating it effectively. In this case, Aretaeus had to recommend roses’ oil, gruel, raw quinces and dates. Also as late as 17th centuary, doctors were seen to prescribe broken red coral, gelly of viper's flesh, fresh blind nettles flowers and sweet almonds (Bell and Polonsky 2001).
Molecular biology of the genes involved and biology of the gene products
Type 2 diabetes genetic basis is known to be complicated to resolve. On the other hand, type 1 diabetes is associated with an autoimmune process. In this case, type 2 diabetes is a relative disease but not insulin deficiency. In this regard, the pancreatic β cells progressively changes to a level that they won’t secrete enough insulin that will be able to maintain normal lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis (Bell and Polonsky 2001). In addition, insulin resistance is experienced and is coupled with obesity, the aging effects as well as reduced exercise (Saltiel and Kahn 2002). Furthermore, the genetic contribution to type 2 diabetes is seen to be less as compared to that of type 1 diabetes, which has a general genetic risk ratio that ranges from 2 - 4 (Weijnen et al.,...