Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases associated with various metabolic disorders, the main feature of which is chronic hyperglycemia due to insufficient insulin action. Its pathogenesis involves both genetic and environmental factors. The long-term persistence of metabolic disorders can cause susceptibility to specific complications and also foster arteriosclerosis. Diabetes mellitus is associated with a broad range of clinical presentations, from being asymptomatic to ketoacidosis or coma, depending on the degree of metabolic disorder. CLASSIFICATION TABLES 1 AND 2 AND FIGURE 1: [Table: see text] [Table: see text] Figure 1 A scheme of the relationship between etiology (mechanism) and patho-physiological stages (states) of diabetes mellitus. Arrows pointing right represent worsening of glucose metabolism disorders (including onset of diabetes mellitus). Among the arrow lines, indicates the condition classified as 'diabetes mellitus'. Arrows pointing left represent improvement in the glucose metabolism disorder. The broken lines indicate events of low frequency. For example, in type 2 diabetes mellitus, infection can lead to ketoacidosis and require temporary insulin treatment for survival. Also, once diabetes mellitus has developed, it is treated as diabetes mellitus regardless of improvement in glucose metabolism, therefore, the arrow lines pointing left are filled in black. In such cases, a broken line is used, because complete normalization of glucose metabolism is rare.imageThe classification of glucose metabolism disorders is principally derived from etiology, and includes staging of pathophysiology based on the degree of deficiency of insulin action. These disorders are classified into four groups: (i) type 1 diabetes mellitus; (ii) type 2 diabetes mellitus; (iii) diabetes mellitus due to other specific mechanisms or diseases; and (iv) gestational diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by destruction of pancreatic β-cells. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by combinations of decreased insulin secretion and decreased insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance). Glucose metabolism disorders in category (iii) are divided into two subgroups; subgroup A is diabetes in which a genetic abnormality has been identified, and subgroup B is diabetes associated with other pathologic disorders or clinical conditions. The staging of glucose metabolism includes normal, borderline and diabetic stages depending on the degree of hyperglycemia occurring as a result of the lack of insulin action or clinical condition. The diabetic stage is then subdivided into three substages: non-insulin- requiring, insulin-requiring for glycemic control, and insulin-dependent for survival. The two former conditions are called non-insulin-dependent diabetes and the latter is known as insulin-dependent diabetes. In each individual, these stages may vary according to the deterioration or the improvement of the metabolic state, either spontaneously or by treatment. DIAGNOSIS TABLES 3–7 AND FIGURE 2: [Table: see text] [Table: see text] [Table: see text] [Table: see text] [Table: see text] Figure 2 Flow chart outlining steps in the clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. *The value for HbA1c (%) is indicated with 0.4% added to HbA1c (JDS) (%).imageCategories of the State of Glycemia: Confirmation of chronic hyperglycemia is essential for the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. When plasma glucose levels are used to determine the categories of glycemia, patients are classified as having a diabetic type if they meet one of the following criteria: (i) fasting plasma glucose level of ≥126 mg/dL (≥7.0 mmol/L); (ii) 2-h value of ≥200 mg/dL (≥11.1 mmol/L) in 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT); or (iii) casual plasma glucose level of ≥200 mg/dL (≥11.1 mmol/L). Normal type is defined as fasting plasma glucose level of <110 mg/dL (<6.1 mmol/L) and 2-h value of <140 mg/dL (<7.8 mmol/L) in OGTT. Borderline type (neither diabetic nor normal type) is defined as falling between the diabetic and normal values. According to the current revision, in addition to the earlier listed plasma glucose values, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) has been given a more prominent position as one of the diagnostic criteria. That is, (iv) HbA1c≥6.5% is now also considered to indicate diabetic type. The value of HbA1c, which is equivalent to the internationally used HbA1c (%) (HbA1c [NGSP]) defined by the NGSP (National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program), is expressed by adding 0.4% to the HbA1c (JDS) (%) defined by the Japan Diabetes Society (JDS). Subjects with borderline type have a high rate of developing diabetes mellitus, and correspond to the combination of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) noted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and WHO. Although borderline cases show few of the specific complications of diabetes mellitus, the risk of arteriosclerosis is higher than those of normal type. When HbA1c is 6.0-6.4%, suspected diabetes mellitus cannot be excluded, and when HbA1c of 5.6-5.9% is included, it forms a group with a high risk for developing diabetes mellitus in the future, even if they do not have it currently. Clinical Diagnosis: 1 If any of the criteria for diabetic type (i) through to (iv) is observed at the initial examination, the patient is judged to be 'diabetic type'. Re-examination is conducted on another day, and if 'diabetic type' is reconfirmed, diabetes mellitus is diagnosed. However, a diagnosis cannot be made only by the re-examination of HbA1c alone. Moreover, if the plasma glucose values (any of criteria [i], [ii], or [iii]) and the HbA1c (criterion [iv]) in the same blood sample both indicate diabetic type, diabetes mellitus is diagnosed based on the initial examination alone. If HbA1c is used, it is essential that the plasma glucose level (criteria [i], [ii] or [iii]) also indicates diabetic type for a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. When diabetes mellitus is suspected, HbA1c should be measured at the same time as examination for plasma glucose.2 If the plasma glucose level indicates diabetic type (any of [i], [ii], or [iii]) and either of the following conditions exists, diabetes mellitus can be diagnosed immediately at the initial examination.• The presence of typical symptoms of diabetes mellitus (thirst, polydipsia, polyuria, weight loss)• The presence of definite diabetic retinopathy3 If it can be confirmed that the above conditions 1 or 2 existed in the past, diabetes mellitus can be diagnosed or suspected regardless of the current test results.4 If the diagnosis of diabetes cannot be established by these procedures, the patient is followed up and re-examined after an appropriate interval.5 The physician should assess not only the presence or absence of diabetes, but also its etiology and glycemic stage, and the presence and absence of diabetic complications or associated conditions. Epidemiological Study: For the purpose of estimating the frequency of diabetes mellitus, 'diabetes mellitus' can be substituted for the determination of 'diabetic type' from a single examination. In this case, HbA1c≥6.5% alone can be defined as 'diabetes mellitus'. Health Screening: It is important not to misdiagnose diabetes mellitus, and thus clinical information such as family history and obesity should be referred to at the time of screening in addition to an index for plasma glucose level. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: There are two hyperglycemic disorders in pregnancy: (i) gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM); and (ii) diabetes mellitus. GDM is diagnosed if one or more of the following criteria is met in a 75 g OGTT during pregnancy: 1 Fasting plasma glucose level of ≥92 mg/dL (5.1 mmol/L)2 1-h value of ≥180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L)3 2-h value of ≥153 mg/dL (8.5 mmol/L) However, diabetes mellitus that is diagnosed by the clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus defined earlier is excluded from GDM. (J Diabetes Invest, doi: 10.1111/j.2040-1124.2010.00074.x, 2010).
Keywords: Clinical diagnosis; Diabetes mellitus; HbA1c.