Sunday, November 28

Fight against sugar: Recognizing and treating the widespread disease diabetes |

Diabetes mellitus, also known as diabetes, is a chronic metabolic disease in various forms. Over eight million people in Germany have diabetes, and there are around 1,500 new cases of diabetes every day. Depending on the type of diabetes, the body either produces too little or no insulin at all or the body cells lose their sensitivity to insulin.

World Diabetes Day: November 14th

Of the World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14th every year. This day is the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered the hormone insulin in 1921 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for it in 1923. World Diabetes Day has been an official United Nations day since 2007. This makes diabetes, next to AIDS, the second disease that a UN day draws attention to.

Insulin is urgently needed to regulate the metabolism. Food rich in carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise. Insulin stimulates the body’s cells to take up glucose, the most common type of carbohydrate. The body needs these, among other things, to gain energy. The blood sugar level drops as the body cells absorb glucose. In diabetes patients, this process is no longer possible or only possible to a limited extent.

There are now good treatment methods for diabetes, but there is no cure to date. The problem is that the disease often goes undetected for a long time, as the most common type 2 in particular hardly causes any symptoms at the beginning. If diabetes is not recognized for a long time, the risk of accompanying and secondary diseases increases. Prevention is extremely important for this widespread disease.

Dangers of diabetes

Man cannot live without insulin. Diabetics must either use an external syringe, pen or pump to supply insulin or try to regulate their blood sugar level through diet and exercise. According to current studies, only 60 to 70 percent of patients manage to adjust their blood sugar optimally. In severe cases, acute hypoglycaemia or hypoglycaemia can occur.

Treatment of the diabetic foot: Among other things, diabetes can cause wounds on the foot that do not heal well.  |  Image:

Causes of a diabetic foot can be circulatory disorders and infections.

In addition, diabetes brings with it a large number of accompanying and secondary diseases. The permanently excessively high blood sugar level, which, especially with type 2 diabetes, often creeps up and goes unnoticed for a long time, can damage the small and large blood vessels and nerves. This in turn affects the organs. Not to be neglected are psychological problems such as depression or eating disorders that can arise. Due to the high risk of accompanying and secondary diseases, the life expectancy of people with diabetes is lower statistically speaking, at least six years shorter than those of people without diabetes.

Concomitant and secondary illnesses

  • Heart attack
  • stroke
  • Nerve damage (neuropathies)
  • Eye damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetisches Fußsyndrom
  • Mental illness

Treatment of diabetes

A diabetic patient uses a blood glucose meter to measure his or her blood sugar level.  In order to get the right amount of insulin, it is important for diabetics to keep an eye on their blood sugar levels.  |  Image:

Diabetes patients need to measure their blood sugar regularly.

Diabetes Typ 1 In contrast to type 2, prevention is difficult or even impossible. In order to detect the disease as early as possible, there is a risk test for type 1 diabetes. A therapy that prevents the autoimmune reaction and thus the destruction of the insulin-producing cells would be the aim of the research. Until then, type 1 cannot be cured. Patients have to artificially supply their bodies with insulin for life, for example by syringe, pen or insulin pump. To do this, they also have to learn to estimate the carbohydrate content of foods and to measure their blood sugar several times a day in order to keep an eye on their blood sugar level. According to the “German Health Report – Diabetes 2022”, the first type 1 diabetes immunotherapies are about to receive clinical approval (ab S. 48).

Facts about type 1 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes is much rarer than type 2 (approx. 5 percent vs. 95 percent)
  • In Germany there are around 341,000 adults with type 1 diabetes. Around 32,000 of them are children and young people.
  • The rate of new type 1 diabetes cases is currently increasing by 3 to 5 percent annually.

Diabetes Typ 2 one can actively prevent or contain the disease if it is recognized early. For example, there are tests on the Internet that provide information about the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years. With an increased risk or already diagnosed type 2 diabetes, the aim is to lower the blood sugar level. The most important measures are usually a change in diet and regular physical activity. Severely obese people should reduce their weight. If the disease is still in its infancy, these measures can be enough and make medication unnecessary.

If these fundamental changes are not enough, type 2 diabetics do not have to resort to the insulin injection right away. Usually, so-called antidiabetic drugs, blood sugar-lowering tablets, are used first. This is intended to bring the sugar value into a certain range. If this therapy is no longer successful, type 2 diabetes patients have to supply insulin artificially.

Facts about type 2 diabetes

  • In Germany it can currently (November 2021) be assumed that there are 8.5 million people with type 2 diabetes.
  • The estimated number of unreported cases of people with type 2 diabetes is at least 2 million in Germany.
  • An estimated 11.5 million people will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by 2040.
  • The mean age at which type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in Germany is currently 61 years for men and 63 years for women.

Much better than a lot of sugar - for example a diet with a lot of vegetables, legumes, nuts and fish.  |  Image:

In the case of diabetes, one should pay attention to the diet: instead of sugar, rather vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes.

In general, a healthy lifestyle is very important for diabetes patients or for the prevention of diabetes. Since the connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes is undisputed, one of the most important recommendations is to avoid being overweight. According to German Health Report – Diabetes 2021 25 percent of Germans are already obese, another 35 percent are overweight. Every seventh child in Germany is too fat. On the one hand, it is important to ensure a balanced diet. There is no specific nutritional pattern that is equally applicable to all diabetes patients. Getting enough exercise is the second important factor. The negative effects of the Covid 19 pandemic could be observed very clearly here. According to German Health Report – Diabetes 2022 Preliminary results of a global survey showed a reduction in physical activity of around 20 percent and an increase in daily sitting time of more than 28 percent. Previously inactive people often became even more inactive. The lack of exercise in turn often leads to weight gain.

The “National Diabetes Strategy”

Due to the high and increasing number of diabetes in Germany, the Bundestag will have one on July 3, 2020 “National Diabetes Strategy” adopted. The demands include: improving education about diabetes and its causes, expanding prevention and health services research on obesity and diabetes, caring for and treating people with obesity using the health insurances’ catalog of services, and making the food industry responsible for prevention. The German Diabetes Society (DDG) are even these demands too non-binding and not specific enough. In November 2021, the DDG also determined that more than a year after the adoption of the National Diabetes Strategy an essential implementation has not yet taken place.

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