Diabetes mellitus – symptoms, manifestations and prevention of the metabolic diseaseDiabetes is one of the globally widespread diseases – especially type 2 diabetes is often cited as one of the most common diseases of civilization. Learn about the different types of diabetes and how to minimize the risk of developing the disease.
Our blood sugar level rises after every meal – but what if it is elevated for a long time and our body can no longer regulate it? This is exactly the case in people suffering from diabetes. However, there are several ways to prevent the development of some forms of diabetes.
Diabetes – What exactly does it mean?
Diabetes mellitus, often referred to colloquially as diabetes or diabetes, describes various metabolic diseases in which the sugar metabolism in particular is disturbed. Diabetes sufferers suffer from chronic hyperglycemia, a condition known as hyperglycemia.
The hormone insulin is of great importance for diabetes patients. This is formed in the pancreas. Regulates the body's sugar metabolism. Insulin, which is released more when blood sugar rises, allows sugar to be absorbed from the blood into cells. Diabetes sufferers either have an insulin deficiency or the effect of existing insulin is reduced.
The term diabetes mellitus means "honey-sweet flow" because the urine of diabetics has an increased sugar content and a sweet taste. In ancient times, urine taste tests were commonly used to diagnose diseases – but nowadays the sugar content of urine is detected using indicator sticks.
According to the WHO, diabetes affects nearly 350 million people worldwide, and about six million in Germany. The most common forms of the disease are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, there are also variants of diabetes that occur as a concomitant disease, such as gestational diabetes.
Diabetes: first signs and symptoms
In many cases, diabetes develops gradually and it takes a while for the disease to become noticeable. That is why it is often not detected immediately.
The following signs may indicate diabetes:
– Strong urge to urinate and frequent urination: Sugar levels in the blood are elevated in diabetes, which is why the body tries to excrete sugar through the urine. Affected persons therefore have to go to the toilet excessively often – often also at night. – Extreme thirst: Affected individuals lose a lot of fluid due to constant urination, which can trigger a strong feeling of thirst. – Very dry skin: the skin can dry out in diabetes if the body loses an excessive amount of water through frequent trips to the toilet. – Poor wound healing and increased risk of infection: Diabetes is often associated with a weakened immune system, which can have a negative impact on wound healing and increase the risk of infectious diseases. – Tiredness, fatigue and poor concentration: In diabetes, the sugar in the blood does not reach the cells where it can be utilized. This results in a lack of energy.
In the long term, diabetes can cause other illnesses and complaints, such as nerve damage, diseases of the eyes and kidneys, or heart disease.
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes: What are the differences??
Although the term diabetes is used synonymously for several diseases, there are some differences between the different forms of diabetes. The most common types of diabetes are type 2 and type 1.
How type 2 diabetes manifests itself?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is characterized by what is known as insulin resistance. The cells of the affected person react increasingly insensitive to the hormone insulin. As a result, the sugar from the blood cannot be absorbed into the cells.
The majority of diabetes patients in Germany suffer from type 2 diabetes. In the past, this form of diabetes was called "adult-onset diabetes" because it often affected older people. However, it is now clear that younger people – including children and adolescents – can also develop type 2 diabetes.
Genes play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes: if close family members such as parents or siblings suffer from type 2 diabetes, the likelihood of developing the disease increases in the course of life.
At the same time, lifestyle and habits can also be triggers for the disease. Risk factors associated with diabetes include:
– Unhealthy diet – Severe obesity – Lack of exercise – Excessive stress and lack of sleep – Smoking
It is important to note that all of these factors can promote the development of diabetes, but do not necessarily have to be triggers. If you want to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes, you should still make sure you eat a balanced diet and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas that are responsible for the production of insulin. This prevents the body from producing insulin. Blood glucose levels rise.
This form of diabetes usually appears in childhood and adolescence and accompanies those affected throughout their lives. People who suffer from type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin regularly.
Gestational diabetes – a special form of diabetes
A special form of diabetes is gestational diabetes, also called gestational diabetes. As the name suggests, this condition is first diagnosed during pregnancy. It is one of the most common concomitant diseases of pregnancy, but in most cases it disappears on its own after delivery.
Exactly what triggers gestational diabetes is not known to date. The cells of affected pregnant women are less sensitive to insulin, similar to those of type 2 diabetics. This insulin resistance, which increases during pregnancy, is also influenced by hormonal changes.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes also include severe obesity and a genetic predisposition. But earlier gestational diabetes, repeated miscarriages and increased age can also contribute to the development.
Gestational diabetes: symptoms
In many patients, gestational diabetes causes no or hardly any symptoms. The characteristic diabetes symptoms such as a strong urge to urinate and excessive thirst usually only occur in a weak form or are interpreted differently due to the pregnancy. On the other hand, more frequent bladder infections, a larger amount of amniotic fluid and high blood prere can indicate gestational diabetes.
To diagnose gestational diabetes with certainty, blood sugar tests must be carried out. These are usually for all pregnant women in the 24. until 28. Week of pregnancy recommended. In pregnant women at increased risk, these are advisable as early as the first trimester of pregnancy.
Type 2 diabetes: prevention tips
Although the development of diabetes can have a wide variety of causes, there are some ways to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pay attention to a healthy dietIn this context, a varied mixed diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholemeal products is recommended. Fiber can also help with impaired sugar and fat metabolism. Especially fatty foods and sweets with too much sugar, soft drinks and alcohol, and meat should be consumed infrequently. A healthy, balanced diet makes sense in general – not just for those at increased risk of diabetes. Move a lotRegular exercise and sport are also fundamentally good for physical and mental well-being – and at the same time have a positive effect on blood glucose levels. Exercise makes it easier for sugar to be absorbed by your cells, which lowers blood sugar levels and gives your body a better supply of energy. 30 minutes of exercise should be daily – this does not only mean sports, but general physical activity in everyday life. Climbing stairs instead of taking elevators and escalators, walking or biking to work instead of driving, and going for walks can already have a positive impact. Excessive stress increases risk of developing diabetes. Should therefore be reduced as much as possible. Yoga, autogenic training, mindfulness exercises or progressive muscle relaxation are good techniques for finding peace in everyday life. Conscious downtime and time in nature also help many people minimize stress. Sleep sufficiently: Lack of sleep can negatively affect the release and action of insulin, and thus blood glucose levels. How much sleep someone needs varies from person to person – but for most people it is seven to eight hours.
A healthy lifestyle is generally recommended, but does not guarantee prevention of the disease. Diabetes sufferers should adjust their diet. In addition, complementary treatment methods should always be discussed with their physician.
Note: This text is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It contains only general information. No individual answers. The article can not replace a visit to the doctor.