The epidemic nature of diabetes mellitus in different regions is reviewed. The Middle East and North Africa region has the highest prevalence of diabetes in adults (10.9%) whereas, the Western Pacific region has the highest number of adults diagnosed with diabetes and has countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes (37.5%). Different classes of diabetes mellitus, type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes and other types of diabetes mellitus are compared in terms of diagnostic criteria, etiology and genetics. The molecular genetics of diabetes received extensive attention in recent years by many prominent investigators and research groups in the biomedical field. A large array of mutations and single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes that play a role in the various steps and pathways involved in glucose metabolism and the development, control and function of pancreatic cells at various levels are reviewed. The major advances in the molecular understanding of diabetes in relation to the different types of diabetes in comparison to the previous understanding in this field are briefly reviewed here. Despite the accumulation of extensive data at the molecular and cellular levels, the mechanism of diabetes development and complications are still not fully understood. Definitely, more extensive research is needed in this field that will eventually reflect on the ultimate objective to improve diagnoses, therapy and minimize the chance of chronic complications development.
Keywords: Classification of diabetes; Diabetes; Diagnosis; Etiology; Genetics; Gestational diabetes; Type 1 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes.