IDiabetes mellitus is a systemic disease that currently affects 6% of the population and ranks as the third most common disease.1 In the United States, 1 to 2 million of these people have type 1 diabetes mellitus, previously referred to as juvenile-onset diabetes.2 Type 1 diabetes is characterized by deficient insulin production due to destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The etiology of this cell destruction has not been fully elucidated, but autoimmune attack, genetic factors, and environmental influences, including infectious agents, have all been implicated. Some insulin-deficient patients have glucose intolerance from loss of pancreas function following pancreatitis, with or without surgical pancreatic resection. Such patients are also insulin deficient and have many of the characteristics and complications seen in patients with autoimmune type 1 diabetes.
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