Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disorder, caused usually by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, and resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). DM results following impaired insulin production by the pancreatic islet cells. The most common types of the disease are type-1 DM (T1DM) and type-2 DM (T2DM).
In T1DM, the onset of the disease follow an autoimmune attack of beta cells thus causing a severe reduction in beta cell mass. In T2DM, the pathogenesis involves insulin resistance, insulin deficiency and enhanced gluconeogenesis, while late progression stages eventually lead to beta cell failure and a significant reduction in beta cell function and mass. Thus, both T1DM and late-T2DM result in marked hypoinsulinemia, reduction in beta cell function and mass, leading to severe secondary complications, as myocardial infarcts, limb amputations, neuropathies and nephropathies and even death.
Currently, the only available treatment modality for T1DM and late-T2DM is insulin infusion (injection, pumps or patches). However, these treatments do not succeed in preventing or delaying disease related severe and lethal complications.
Globally the economic burden exerted by diabetes and its complications account for over $230 billion (as of 2007). The United States spends over $170 billion annually for the treatment of diabetes and the care costs in Europe constitute nearly 10% of the total healthcare expenditures for the entire region.
As the disease burden increases, healthcare authorities are under increasing pressure to implement solutions aimed at reducing these growing figures.
Diabetes care costs for the Global diabetes market in 2008.
Note: All figures are rounded; the base year is 2008. Source: Frost & Sullivan
It must be noted that the majority of diabetes care costs are a result of hospitalization due to diabetes complications and co-morbidities.
According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2011 published by the CDC, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower limb amputation and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetes is the major cause of heart disease and stroke and the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.