Diabetes is a chronic disease, which characterizes with increased blood sugar, so called glucose, in the blood. The level of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone, called insulin, which synthesizes in the pancreas. The mission of insulin is to help with the movement of glucose from the blood to the cells. There it dissolves and turns into energy.
With the people who have diabetes the production of insulin is low or it is not used properly. That leads to increased level of glucose in the blood. If hyperglycemia or increased sugar in the blood, exists for a long time in the organism, it leads to change in the blood vessels. This condition is dangerous for the human life, because it increases the risk of heart disease, diseases of the kidneys, risk of sight loss and tissue gangrene.
By the researches of the International Diabetes Federation the estimated number of people who have diabetes is 285 million. This number grows with incredible speed and for 20 years it will raise up to 430 million diabetics.
The World Diabetes Day marks on the 14th of November in more than 160 countries- members of the UN, under the protection of the International Diabetes Federation. The goal of the campaign all over the world is to draw the attention on the problem with diabetes. The logo of the World Diabetes Day is a blue circle, which symbolizes life and health. Blue is the color of the sky and the flag of the United Nations and presents all the countries united in the battle against diabetes.
- Insufficient production of insulin in the pancreas,
- Dysfunction of the cells related to insulin,
- Both reasons exist at the same time.
The risk factors depend on the type of the disease.
Risk factors for diabetes Type 1
- Presence of antibodies
- Exposure of some types of virus infections
- Reduced input if vitamin D
- Drinking cow milk in early age.
Risk factors for diabetes Type 2
- Reduced physical activity
- Diabetes Type 2 with members of the family
- Previous gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- High blood pressure
- High level of cholesterol
- High level of triglycerides.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
- Women older than 25 years of age
- Diabetes in the family
- Previous gestational diabetes
- Birth of a baby with big weight( over 4 kg)
- Stillborn baby for unknown reasons
- Very big weight gain during pregnancy.
Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.
This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased.
It’s very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
Two types of diabetes
The disease occurs in two types: Type 1 and Type 2.
Diabetes Type 1
Formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, appears in the childhood, among the young population. It is up about 5 % of all diagnosed cases. The reason for its appearance is unknown, but it is related to some infection or some other external factors. After that persons with genetic tendency develop unusual immune response directed towards its own tissue. Result of this self-destruction is destruction of pancreas tissues and shortage of insulin. This diabetes type usually occurs suddenly. Despite all medical researches, the prevention is still impossible. The research is related to the external factors which can raise the mechanism of self- destruction of the pancreas cells.
Diabetes type 2
Is formerly known as insulin-independent diabetes and it appears among adults. It develops as a result of ineffective usage of insulin with people who are overweight and physically inactive. The symptoms are not as transparent as for Type 1 and its late diagnosed because at that stadium the early complications are already developed. As a result of unhealthy way of life, malnutrition and physical inactivity, this type of diabetes recently appears among children. The risks are: older age, existence of the disease among family members, previous gestational diabetes, obesity, unhealthy nutrition, physical inactivity and smoking.
Other type of diabetes is gestational diabetes. It appears among pregnant women and it is diagnosed in 2-10 % of them. At this state the level of glucose in the blood is above the normal values, but is still under the level for diabetes diagnosis. Unless it is treated, this type of diabetes could threaten the life of the mother and the baby. It also increases the risk of diabetes type 2 for the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed through prenatal testing. The risk factors for the appearance of this type of diabetes are: the age of the mother (if the mother is older it increases the possibility of its presence), obesity, family history of diabetes, previous gestational diabetes, increased glucose in the urine during the pregnancy.
Some other types of diabetes can appear within some genetic syndromes, during the usage of some medicine, infections and malnutrition.
Most important signs and symptoms of the disease are:
- urinary frequency,
- expressed thirst,
- unexplained weight loss,
- weakness in the arms and legs,
- constant feeling of fatigue,
- dry skin,
- increased appetite,
- frequent infections (of the gums, skin, vagina, bladder),
- blurred vision,
- slow healing of wounds,
- slightly increased blood pressure,
- presence of ketones in the blood (decomposition of the muscles and fatty tissue because of shortage of insulin).
If someone has these symptoms he should visit the doctor.
Diagnosis and therapy
The diagnosis of the disease is based on the clinical picture and simple determination of the blood glucose. Therapy includes insulin injections for diabetes Type 1, pills, and insulin for diabetes Type 2. In both cases most important is healthy nutrition, physical activity and daily control of the maintenance of blood glucose in the proper limits .A part of the treatment are also checkups at the cardiologist, nephrologist and ophthalmologist, because of the possible complications of the heart diseases, lung diseases, diseases of the eye fundus.
Some efforts are made for prevention of diabetes Type 1, but none had effect. For that reason the prevention for this type of diabetes will remain a subject of further future analyses.
Prevention of the disease is possible in the case of diabetes Type 2 and it means creating a healthy lifestyle. Many studies have shown that healthy nutrition and physical activity significantly decrease the risk of diabetes. Smoking is also an unhealthy habit that should be avoided in the diabetes prevention. Education of the diabetic is also important, in order to provide quality life for them and to avoid complications. The community of diabetic is constantly fighting and struggling to find new ways to prevent and ease the complications of the diabetic.
The adults can decrease the risk of diabetes Type 2 with healthy nutrition. It includes types of food rich in dietary fiber and replacement of the saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Dietary recommendations of the World Health Organization in the prevention of diabetes include reduction of the intake of saturated fatty acids for less than 10% of the total energy intake, nutrition rich in dietetic fiber by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes. WHO recommends significant decrease of the intake of sugar for more than 10% in order to increase the benefits of healthy way of life?
Increased physical activity
The recommendations of WHO for proper physical activity depends on the age. Children from 5 to 17 years old should have minimum 60 minutes a day physical activity. Persons from 18 to 64 years old should practice some kind of aerobic activity (quick walk, jogging, and gardening) for minimum 150 minutes a week. For older people the physical activity should have the intensity as same as the previous group, but it should be balanced with the possibilities and conditions.
More than a billion people in the world suffer from obesity. The studies have shown that if this problem could be solved, the percentage of people who have diabetes will be reduced by half.
The diabetics are under high risk of death because of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Smoking strongly increases this risk.
Controls of the level of glucose in the blood
Regular controls of the level of glucose in the blood are the most important indicator for discovering the presence of diabetes on time.
Modern medicine has developed some new ways of dealing with diabetes, such as transplantation of pancreas or cells that produce insulin.
Marjan Madzovski is a promoter of healthy life, healthy food and exercise. He is an inspirational speaker at many seminars related to health. Marjan is the owner of the Health Lifeprint