14.1 What's in a name?
The name 'Diabetes mellitus' means 'honey-sweet flow-through'.1 That tells us about two things:
- An important symptom of the disease: Copious flow of urine, containing significant amounts of glucose.
- A classical method of diagnosis. The alternative to diabetes mellitus is diabetes insipidus (insipid, flavourless), which is caused by a deficiency of the antidiuretic hormone due to lesions in the posterior lobe of the hypophyseal gland and is not related to glucose metabolism.
If you plan on going on to medical school, you will be glad to learn that the classical method of diagnosis is no longer used in clinical practice.
1: For geeks: More precisely, 'marching through' – you may recall the term 'adiabatic' from thermodynamics, meaning 'without permeation', which is the opposite of 'diabetic'.