Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops because the pancreas does not synthesize the amount of insulin the human body needs, makes it of inferior quality, or is not able to use it effectively.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Its main function is to maintain proper blood glucose values. It allows glucose to enter the body and be transported into the cells, where it is transformed into energy for the muscles and tissues to function. It also helps the cells store glucose until it is needed.

In people with diabetes, there is an excess of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia) because it is not distributed properly. High glucose can be harmful “to the whole body, but mainly to the heart, kidney and arteries, so people who have diabetes and don’t know it or don’t treat it are more at risk for kidney problems, heart attacks, vision loss and lower limb amputations.

In fact, the appearance of the disease, the causes and the symptoms that patients have depend on the type of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes
It usually appears in children, although it can also be initiated in adolescents and adults. It tends to occur abruptly and often independently of family history.

The cells that produce insulin in the pancreas (the beta cells) are destroyed by autoantibodies. That is, the body attacks its own cells as if they were foreign (as occurs in celiac disease, and other autoimmune diseases).

Type 2 diabetes
It arises in adulthood, its incidence increases in the elderly and is approximately ten times more frequent than type 1. It causes a decrease in the action of insulin, meaning that, even if there is a lot of it, it cannot act. There is “a mixed component: on the one hand, there is less insulin in the pancreas and, on the other, this insulin works less well in the tissues ( called insulin resistance)”.

Its main cause is obesity because the fat tissue produces certain substances that decrease the sensitivity of the insulin receptors.

Types

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

It is caused by the destruction of insulin-producing cells. It usually appears in childhood.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

It is the most frequent and preventable and is caused by a deficit of insulin, which is added to a reduced action of this hormone in the tissues.

Gestational diabetes

It appears in 2 to 5 percent of pregnancies. It is associated with maternal-fetal complications if not treated properly.

Other types of diabetes

Another, less well known, type of diabetes is the one that appears due to an injury of the pancreas, either due to a surgical removal or an inflammation. It is called pancreoprine diabetes. Other types of diabetes are caused by genetics or by taking certain drugs.

Symptoms

Possible symptoms of elevated glucose include the following:

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Very thirsty (polydipsia).

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Feeling very hungry (polyphagia).
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Need to urinate continuously, even at night (polyuria).
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Weight loss, despite eating a lot.
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Blurred vision.
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Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.
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Recurrent fungal skin infections.
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If glucose rises slowly, progressively (usually in type 2 diabetes), it can take years for symptoms to start, so the disease may go unnoticed.

Treatment

The treatment of diabetes is based on three pillars: diet, physical exercise and medication. It aims to keep blood glucose levels within normal limits to minimize the risk of complications associated with the disease.

Insulin is the only treatment for type 1 diabetes. Today it can only be administered by injection, either with insulin pens or continuous infusion systems (insulin bombs).

Type 2 diabetes has a wider therapeutic range. In this case, unlike patients with type 1 diabetes, insulin administration will not always be necessary. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing weight, glucose levels can be normalized.

In addition, the endocrinologist adds, “the use of one or more drugs that help insulin work better will be the best treatment option.

Prevention

At present, it is not possible to prevent type 1 diabetes, despite multiple attempts.

Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type, can be prevented. Since the most important cause is obesity, all actions that have to do with obesity prevention – avoiding sedentarism, junk food, sugary drinks… – are going to have a positive result on our health.

Beneficial vitamins

Vitamin D: is needed to maintain adequate blood glucose levels of insulin.”

Vitamin C: can improve glucose tolerance in patients with type diabetes, it also significantly reduces urinary protein loss in people with diabetes.

Vitamin E: Keeps the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria

Complex B: Helps maintain control of the nervous system.

Magnesium: Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beating steadily, and helps bones stay strong.

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