What is the pathophysiology of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Sep 13, 2019
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Type 1 DM is the culmination of lymphocytic infiltration and destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. As beta-cell mass declines, insulin secretion decreases until the available insulin no longer is adequate to maintain normal blood glucose levels. After 80-90% of the beta cells are destroyed, hyperglycemia develops and diabetes may be diagnosed. Patients need exogenous insulin to reverse this catabolic condition, prevent ketosis, decrease hyperglucagonemia, and normalize lipid and protein metabolism.


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