type 2 diabetes usually appears after age 40 : Diabetes is considered to be one of the most dangerous common diseases, also because it can go unnoticed for a long time and often irreparably damages our organs. Researchers are still baffled by the disease, which affects nearly 250 million people worldwide. But although diabetes is treacherous, it can be used to age: thanks to good therapies and with a lot of discipline. Those who eat well and exercise regularly can get the “diabetes mellitus”, as they are popularly called, under control – sometimes even without medication.
Diabetes: age-old widespread disease
“Life is short, miserable and painful” was how the Greek physician Aretaeus von Cappadocia described the condition in 100 AD, later known as diabetes. Even then people were suffering from “diabetes”, as diabetes is also called. But for a long time no one knew what exactly was behind the suffering. It was not until 1850 that scientists discovered the cause. Since then, it has been known that diabetes is a metabolic disease in which elevated blood sugar plays the main role.
Tremendous thirst can indicate diabetes
The hormone insulin is responsible for the permeability of the cells. Only with its help, the cells can absorb important nutrients such as glucose (glucose) in sufficient quantities. If there is too little or no sugar in the cells, the blood sugar level rises outside the cell. Then the body tries to lower the elevated levels by excreting blood sugar via the urine. Therefore, people with diabetes often need to go to the bathroom and have a great thirst.
The disturbed balance also has consequences for the energy balance in the body. In the long term, fatty tissue is broken down and the patient loses weight. In addition, the disease leaves irreparable damage to nerves and vessels. If the diabetes is not treated, it can lead to death in extreme cases.
A disease with many faces
There are four different manifestations of the disease underlying different disorders in insulin metabolism:
- In Type 2 diabetes, which affects 90 percent of all “diabetics”, body cells do not respond sensitively enough to insulin, and therefore, they get too little nutrients.
- In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own defense system destroys the cells that produce the insulin.
- Type 4 diabetes, known as gestational diabetes, occurs in about five percent of expectant mothers. It usually disappears after birth but increases the risk of later sugar disease.
- There is also a special form, type 3 diabetes, which can be triggered by rare genetic defects, medications and hormonal imbalances.
Unrecognized suffering type 2 diabetes usually appears after age 40
Diabetes is a treacherous disease because it often goes unnoticed for a long time. Type 2 diabetes is often discovered only after the age of 40 years. That is why he is colloquially known as age sugar. In Germany alone, more than six million people suffer from type 2 diabetes. Consequential damage of the decades-long increase in blood sugar can be heart attacks, strokes, kidney weakness, retinal and nerve damage and erectile dysfunction.
In addition to great thirst, there are other symptoms that indicate the disease. These include weakness, a weakened immune system and wound healing disorders. Nevertheless, one is not helpless at the mercy of diabetes. Although inheritance also plays a role, but who moves a lot, respects a healthy diet and abstains from nicotine, has eliminated the biggest risk factors. Regular endurance sports and proper body weight make cells more sensitive to insulin, helping to naturally lower blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood. Researchers assume an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense system completely destroys the insulin-forming cells. Therefore, diabetics suffering from this form must artificially deliver the vital hormone by injecting it. But even with this form of the disease help balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
New therapies for diabetes
The researchers are constantly working on new therapies
Very promising are two new drugs for type 2 diabetes: GLP-1 analogs and SGLT-1 inhibitors. The two drugs that lower the blood sugar level have an influence on certain hormones: the incretins. These are distributed during the meal in the intestine. However, both agents no longer work if patients have long been treated with insulin. The long-term effects are not yet explored. Scientists hope that the remedies can also help save, or even increase, the cells that actually produce insulin.
In addition, scientists are working to prevent the onset of diabetes. Among other things, they are researching a vaccine against type 1 diabetes. This is intended to prevent the body’s own immune system from destroying the cells that produce insulin.
An entirely different type of treatment for type 1 diabetes is the body’s own stem cell transplantation, which is still in the research stage. The immune system and the antibodies that destroy insulin-producing cells are completely destroyed by chemotherapy. In order to preserve the vital stem cells, they are previously filtered out of the bloodstream and then returned to it. However, this therapy, which is used against autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism or multiple sclerosis, is controversial. Nobody knows yet what long-term consequences the treatment can have.
Ultimately, almost all scientists come to the same conclusion: Although the symptoms of diabetes can be alleviated, but a panacea is not in sight.
Even in poorer countries, more and more people are suffering from diabetes. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), there will be 333 million diabetics worldwide in 2025. Scientists assume that soon 80 percent of all diabetics live in developing and emerging countries. Many health experts therefore speak of an epidemic. North Africa is as affected as India and South Asia. Above all, high-calorie food, smoking, alcohol and less and less exercise are to blame. In addition, early detection is inadequate and medical care is usually very poor. All this means that in Africa, the mortality rate for diabetics is ten times higher than in England.
The problem becomes particularly clear in Nauru, a small island state in the southern Pacific Ocean. Nearly every second resident is suffering from diabetes today. Until the 1920s, the disease was largely unknown in Nauru – then came the prosperity. Especially with regard to the developing countries health experts argue for more education, they want, for example, targeted campaigns and nutrition programs against obesity. Their main demand is that healthy food becomes affordable for everyone.
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