What can now be recognized as diabetes was described in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and India. The sweet taste of urine in those with the condition was noted in the 1600s and the term "mellitus" meaning honeylike was introduced (13). Diabetes mellitus is a major public health problem worldwide. It ranks sixth as a primary cause of death in the United States, but when its complications are included, it ranks third. These complications can be very serious and involve, in the United States, 50% of the amputations of all lower extremities in adults and 25% of all kidney failure and are also a leading cause of blindness.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM, or type II) is the form of diabetes characterized as a chronic nutritionally related condition (Table 6) and is a disorder showing abnormalities in glucose, fat, and protein metabolism. The onset of type II diabetes can be triggered by dietary and lifestyle factors similar to those associated with cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes and heart disease in later life appear to be linked to weight at birth (13).
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