Diabetes mellitus – the sugar diseaseAccording to the Federal Ministry of Health, approximately 7.2 million people in Germany were suffering from diabetes mellitus in 2020. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder in which blood glucose levels are too high. In a healthy organism, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which ensures that the energy supplier "sugar" is available to the body is transferred from the blood into the cells. In diabetics, the pancreas either produces too little or no insulin, or the body is unable to use the insulin. Regular preventive medical checkups, such as z. B. Visits to the ophthalmologist, are especially important for people with diabetes. As a result of permanently elevated blood sugar levels, consequential damage can occur. Complications include u.a. Damage to blood vessels and nerves. These complications can lead to late complications such as diabetic foot syndrome or diabetic retinopathy.
Differentiation of the types of diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disease caused by insulin deficiency or insulin resistance. Insulin is an essential blood sugar-lowering hormone in the body. We consume carbohydrates in our food, which are broken down into individual sugar components (glucose and fructose) in the small intestine. This is the only way that sugar can be absorbed into the blood via the intestines. The result is an increase in blood sugar levels. And this is where insulin comes into play: High blood glucose levels cause insulin to be released from the pancreas and released into the bloodstream. The sugar building blocks reach all the body's cells via the bloodstream. With the help of insulin into the cells. In the cells, the sugar building blocks are then processed into energy.
Type 1 diabetes: lack of insulin
A malfunction of the immune system (autoimmune disease) destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. An absolute insulin deficiency occurs. The cause is still unknown. What is known, however, is the consequence of the autoimmune reaction: The body can no longer produce insulin, so it has to be supplied from the outside. Mostly affects younger people, but older people can also develop diabetes type 1. Affected individuals must continuously inject insulin to keep blood glucose levels within the normal range.
Type 2 diabetes: insulin resistance
However, by far the largest proportion of diabetics are affected by type 2 diabetes. The available insulin cannot be released as needed. Insulin does not work properly due to cell destruction. The pancreas produces its own insulin, but the body can't use it properly. The sugar is not channeled into the cells as it normally would be. Over time, the organism develops what is known as insulin resistance. To compensate for this resistance, more and more of the body's own insulin is produced. Overproduction leads to the body eventually no longer producing insulin itself. An unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise are often the cause of this form of diabetes. Therefore, the patient can influence the disease favorably by a healthy, adapted lifestyle.
Symptoms of diabetes
Common signs (= symptoms) of diabetes:
– strong thirst (polydipsia) – frequent urge to urinate, especially at night (polyuria) – overacidification of the blood (ketoacidosis) – occurrence of certain wounds (diabetic foot syndrome) or poorly healing wounds – frequent infections – fatigue, tiredness
Observations of hypoglycemia – blood glucose levels that are too low:
u. a. Shaking, sweating, food cravings, "weak knees," speech impediments, shock
Observations of hyperglycemia – too high blood glucose levels:
u. a. Increased urge to urinate, strong feeling of thirst, fatigue, itching, visual disturbances
Living with diabetes
Diabetes affects everyday life – but does not necessarily have to turn it upside down. Nowadays, there are many ways to maintain quality of life and lead an almost normal life. It is important for those affected to keep an eye on their blood glucose levels by taking regular measurements to prevent hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. According to the measurement result, diabetics have to control the blood glucose level: Injecting insulin helps to lower the blood sugar level. In the case of hypoglycemia, the supply of glucose can provide relief. It is important to deal with the disease after diagnosis. If there are other diseases in addition to diabetes mellitus, e.g. diabetes of the liver. B. Poorly healing wounds or even a stroke, in which case enteral nutrition via a PEG or supportive therapy for nutrition may also be required. We deliver the required products quickly and reliably. In addition, our specialists are also available to help you with possible complications, such as the appearance of wounds. Talk to us, we will be happy to advise you. Our sister company Mediq Direkt Diabetes is a specialist dealer in diabetic supplies. In addition to a mail-order service, also offers all-round care close to home through local diabetes specialist stores.
Diabetic foot syndrome
Diabetic foot syndrome is considered a late complication of diabetes mellitus. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause nerve damage (polyneuropathy). The blood circulation in the legs (microangiopathy) are damaged. This renders the foot insensitive to pain, which z. B. be caused by shoes that are too tight or by stones in the shoe. This poses a risk of injury to the foot. At the same time, the skin on the foot can become dry and cracked due to the reduced blood flow and thus become a gateway for pathogens. The affected person feels. Often sees skin damage too late. Harmless injuries can then have serious consequences due to the additional reduced wound healing tendency in diabetics. For this reason a regular, exact inspection of the feet is very important.