Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is characterized by a long-term elevated blood glucose level. In Austria, ca. 600.000 people affected by diabetes mellitus, or 8-9% of the population. Due to our lifestyle and demographic development, a further increase in the number of diabetics is expected.
Control of blood glucose levels
In healthy individuals, blood glucose is constantly maintained between 80 to 140 mg/dl by the interplay of various hormones. The sugar responsible for the blood sugar level is glucose. It can be stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles or in the liver. The level of glucose concentration in the blood is regulated by the hormones insulin and glucagon: Insulin lowers the blood glucose level, glucagon increases it.
Sugar (glucose) is vital because it provides the body's energy needs to maintain all bodily functions, comparable to the gasoline in a car engine.
People with diabetes mellitus have elevated blood glucose levels. The high levels of sugar in the blood can damage many organs and ties in the body and lead to severe secondary damage.
Forms of diabetes
– Type 1 diabetes mellitus – Type 2 diabetes mellitus – Diabetes associated with pancreatic disease – Diabetes associated with medication – Gestational diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 1
This form of diabetes primarily affects children and adolescents. It causes the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by the immune system. Affected patients suffer from an absolute insulin deficiency. Must inject insulin for life as a result. Diabetics are usually slim and of normal weight, with only a slight genetic influence on the cause. Symptoms occur frequently and it is not uncommon for massive sugar slips to occur at the onset of the disease, necessitating hospitalization and treatment.
About 300.000 people in Austria suffer from type 1 diabetes, of which about 3.000 Children and adolescents.
First signs of type 1 diabetes
– strong feeling of thirst – frequent urination – fatigue – exhaustion – muscular weakness – visual disturbances – frequent urinary tract infections – skin infections
Diabetes mellitus type 2
This is a classic lifestyle disease of our western world. The disease primarily affects adults (increasingly also young people) who eat an unhealthy diet and take very little exercise. The patients are as a rule overweight or have. obese. The body's cells develop insulin resistance, d. h. Sensitivity to insulin. No longer absorb the sugar. Sufferers rarely show symptoms. The initial diagnosis is often an incidental finding (z. B. routine blood sample at the family doctor).
Overweight, obesity and lack of exercise promote the development of type 2 diabetes. Genetic influence is greater in type 2 diabetes than in type 1 diabetes. Well over 90 % of all sugar patients are type 2 diabetics.
Women can develop insulin resistance during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In the majority of cases, this regresses after delivery, but women have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus thereafter.
Treatment of diabetes mellitus
Patients with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin replacement therapy, d. h. they have to inject themselves with insulin several times a day depending on the therapy regimen.
The treatment of type 2 diabetes is primarily based on lifestyle changes with the introduction of a balanced mixed diet and regular exercise.
If these measures do not lead to a sufficient improvement in the blood glucose situation, it may be necessary to take additional medication (tablets) or to administer insulin. the administration of insulin may become necessary.
This is a classic insulin utilization disorder. Characteristically, there is a risk factor package that consists of the following components:
– Diabetes mellitus type 2 or. its precursors – increased abdominal girth – increased blood fat levels, especially triglycerides (neutral fats) – high blood prere
In the context of the metabolic syndrome, a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease is known – z. B. High blood prere, heart attack, stroke.
As in the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2, the focus of treatment here is on a change in lifestyle with sustained weight loss. In addition, adequate treatment of the other risk factors (blood prere, blood lipid levels) should be sought.