The pathophysiology of diabetes refers to the changes relating to or associated with the disease diabetes. It is also the study of the manifestations of diabetes and the abnormalities resulting from physical and biological disturbances caused by the disease. The pathophysiology of diabetes does not explain any treatments of any form or type of diabetes, nor does it deal with a possible cure for the disorder; rather, it focuses on the signs and symptoms that arise in the sufferers of the disease. Whenever disease develops in the body or the body is traumatized in any way, there is almost always the risk of normal bodily functions being disrupted in some way. A layman's definition of the pathophysiology of diabetes is simply the study of all of the things that can go wrong in the body of someone who has the disease.
Among the topics that are covered by the pathophysiology of diabetes are disorders in insulin production, changes in blood glucose levels, insulin resistance and how carbohydrates are metabolized. The pathophysiology of diabetes deals with short- and long-term complications, so even organs and systems that appear to be totally unrelated to the disease are studied. For example, diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which the levels of blood sugar are higher than normal because of the body's insufficient production of the hormone insulin. Pathophysiology of diabetes, however, considers complications that can and often do arise with organs that are not involved with the production or regulation of insulin.
Diminished vision ultimately leading to a complete loss of a diabetic's eyesight is taken into account. Wounds that heal poorly or slowly because of diminished circulation caused by atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the blood vessels, reduced kidney function or failure, reduced digestion and even problems with maintaining a normal blood pressure are all changes that are investigated in the study of the complications caused by diabetes. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology are essential to understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes or of any disease or trauma of a particular part or organ of the body.
Although the subject does not encompass treatment of the disease or finding or verifying proposed cures, health care providers, nutritionists and practitioners of alternative medicine find the conclusions of the pathophysiology of diabetes to be of great value. If the complications of a disease or injury are not understood or known, it is generally impossible to provide necessary treatment, support and the information needed to investigate a possible cure. The pathophysiology of specific diseases and of trauma is studied by various healthcare providers, such as medical doctors, pathologists and nurses.