The ‘AIDS’ acronym: identifying causes of hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes

Margaret J. McGill, Amanda J. Seabrook, STEPHEN M. TWIGG



When an individual with type 2 diabetes presents with a chronic deterioration in blood glucose levels the healthcare professional who manages them must consider a broad range of issues that may be causing the clinical picture. This article describes a helpful acronym that has been developed to enable systematic consideration of the causes of the hyperglycaemia.

Key Points

  • Many causes of persisting or deteriorating hyperglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes are easily identified.
  • The AIDS acronym is a tool to help systematically target the cause(s) of deteriorating blood glucose levels and to improve patient outcomes.
  • Areas covered by the acronym are adherence, inflammation, drugs, and other causes grouped as ‘something else’ and including cancers, progressive kidney disease and liver impairment, incorrect diabetes subtype characterisation and ‘secondary failure’ of pancreatic beta cells.
  • Adherence is a broad area of care, including nutrition and exercise, patient attendance at appointments, medication adherence and glucose monitoring in those who require it.

    Picture credit: © Charles Milligan/Medical Images
    Models used for illustrative purposes only