Experts worry as diabetes becomes increasingly common throughout the world!
Information directly from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Diabetes is the fastest-growing epidemic in the United States.
- More than 11,000,000 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Another 6,000,000 undiagnosed Americans have diabetes, but don’t know to seek medical attention.
- Over 200,000 people in the United States die as a result of diabetes each year, making it the 5th most lethal cause of death in the nation.
What is Diabetes?
- Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition. In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body is insensitive to the effect of insulin.
- As a result, sugar from the diet cannot be sufficiently absorbed into the various cells to serve as an energy source. This causes an increase in blood sugar (hyperglycemia). And together with hyperglycemia, we often see disorders in blood fats (cholesterol) and blood pressure.
- It is one of the most common chronic diseases in our society. It is associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and with an increased risk of blindness and kidney damage.
The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is made when two blood samples are taken:
- The fasting blood sugar value ≥126 mg/dl
- Blood sugar level during the day ≥ 200 mg/dl
The normal values for fasting blood sugar are always lower than 110 mg/dl. But in order to be there in time, doubtful values (between 100 and 125 mg/dl) are already known as impaired glucose tolerance.
By changing your lifestyle in this situation, losing a few kilos, and exercising more, you can still prevent the development of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes:
- Insufficient insulin is produced because of a disorder in the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) of the pancreas or pancreas. This form usually develops at a younger age (before 40 years). 10% of all people with diabetes suffer from this form.
- Type 1 diabetes usually develops over a short period. Blood sugar levels rise relatively quickly and symptoms develop quickly.
Type 2 Diabetes:
- In type 2 diabetes, insulin production is initially still present, but the action of insulin at the level of the cells is insufficient.
- It mainly affects adults over 40 years of age. In recent years, however, we have seen a spectacular increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, even at a younger age.
- The principal cause is increasing obesity and insufficient physical activity. 90% of the total group of people with diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes.
- The development of type 2 diabetes is usually slow. As a result, slightly elevated blood sugar levels can already be present for several years and cause damage, without being aware of any harm.
- It is estimated that about half of people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have the disease.
- This is a specific form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy under the influence of hormonal changes.
- This form disappears spontaneously after pregnancy.
- Women with a history of gestational diabetes run a very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
More rare forms of diabetes are hereditary forms, hormonal forms, diabetes from some medications, from pancreatitis (or inflammation of the pancreas).
Origin and prevention
Type 1 diabetes
- Not everything is known about the origin of type 1 yet. Usually, in people with type 1 diabetes, we find antibodies in the blood that target parts of the beta cells of the pancreas.
- Antibodies, which normally only target invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, will eventually destroy their target. When these antibodies are produced against the body’s own tissue, we speak of an autoimmune disease.
- It is still unclear why these antibodies arise. On the one hand, there appears to be a clear hereditary predisposition. Other factors will trigger the production of these antibodies, such as viral infections and immune system disorders.
Prevention: It is important to know that who gets it is not to blame. He or she could not have done or failed to do anything to prevent the condition.
Type 2 diabetes
- Here too, it is known that there is a manifest hereditary factor, which is even more important than in people with type 1 diabetes. Most times, there appears to be a clear link between obesity and a lack of physical activity.
- Because of the increase in overweight and our changed lifestyle, especially with a lack of physical activity, we have seen more and more type 2 diabetes develop at a younger age in recent years, exceptionally even in adolescents. But the actual cause of this condition is actually not yet known.
Prevention: Of course, nothing can be changed about a hereditary predisposition to diabetes. The development of the condition can often be prevented and certainly postponed for a long time by living a healthy life. This means: ensure a healthy and varied diet, prevent overweight and take sufficient exercise.
Who should pay extra attention to type 2 diabetes?
The chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases if one or more of the following risk factors are present. In that case, an annual check-up with the doctor is recommended. If there are already complaints, this check should not be postponed.
- If the parents, brothers, or sisters have already been diagnosed with diabetes
- Overweight, especially with an enormous belly
- Little movement
- Intake of certain drugs (e.g., cortisone, diuretics) that can trigger
- Old age
- Gestational diabetes
- Birth weight > 4.5 kg in one of the children
Left untreated or insufficiently treated, elevated blood sugar can lead to damage to the large and small blood vessels.
This creates ‘chronic complications’. These can lead to:
- A 2 to 3 times higher risk of cardiovascular disease than in people without diabetes
- Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults
- Diabetes handles about 1/3rd of cases of severe kidney disease
- Impotence is common in male diabetic patients
- Diabetes is one of the most common causes of amputations
We know from several extensive studies that the risk of complications decreases significantly in both people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes because of good blood glucose control. Proper treatment of both blood sugars and other risk factors can significantly improve the quality of life.