Diabetes mellitus: A chronic disease that affects the daily life of the patient & his family

Diabetes mellitus: A chronic disease that affects the daily life of the patient & his family

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas, the gland that is responsible for producing insulin, does not produce enough of it or when the body cannot use it effectively or both. Insulin is a hormone that enables cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy. Consequently, when insulin production or action is insufficient, glucose cannot be used by cells and increases in the blood (hyperglycemia).

What Are The Most Common Forms Of Diabetes?
There are several types of diabetes mellitus, with the most common being types 1 and 2. The endocrinologist is the right specialist to advise on each type of disease.

Type 1 Diabetes: People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin and need insulin injections to survive. It is the most common type in children and young adults, while it can occur in older ages, without showing heredity.

Type 2 Diabetes: People with type 2 diabetes can not use insulin effectively. The most important factor that opposes the action of insulin is visceral fat, ie obesity and there is a strong hereditary factor in this type of diabetes, ie it is common for many members of the same family, regardless of age!

A third type occurs for the first time during pregnancy, Gestational Diabetes, and may require insulin, but resolves after delivery. However, women who develop gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and these are usually women who have pre-existing risk factors and should be screened at the onset of pregnancy, according to the specialist’s instructions.

What are the Risk Factors for developing diabetes?
Genetic and environmental factors, such as infections during intrauterine life, are blamed for the development of type 1 diabetes, but there are no clear data yet. It seems that breastfeeding and avoiding processed foods high in toxins have a protective role.

In contrast, the picture is clearer in terms of risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The most common include increased body weight combined with unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, hereditary history of type 2 diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, history Prediabetic conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.

What are the warning signs of Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes can occur suddenly and rapidly developing hyperglycemia can be life threatening. In contrast, type 2 diabetes usually progresses slowly and gives symptoms when the disease has already caused damage. Such symptoms are fatigue, inability to concentrate, thirst, polyuria, weight loss, etc. For this reason one should be checked in time, especially if there are other members of the extended family who are suffering!

What are the ways to treat Diabetes?
A healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise is the basis in treating any type of Diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the main treatment is insulin, while for patients with type 2 diabetes we now have more options before we get to insulin, with new “smart” anti-diabetic drugs that do not cause hypoglycemia, while helping to lose weight and in the protection of the cardiovascular system.

For every type of diabetes that needs insulin, developments are also very important, as we have a variety of drugs with different action and duration, while researchers are constantly looking for more “friendly” drugs to patients, such as inhaled and weekly insulin.

What is special about the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes of HYGEIA?
In the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, utilizing the progress of technology, the portable recorder, HOLTER Sugar is used. This tiny device provides continuous 24-hour recording of blood sugar changes using glucose sensors (without punctures). It can be used either to assess glycemic control in any type of diabetes, or to replace multiple finger measurements, especially in people with type 1 diabetes, while some sensors are connected and communicate with portable insulin pumps, creating a closed circuit called the ” artificial pancreas “.
But most of all, in our department, we do not forget that Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the daily life of the patient and his family. The treating physician does not target the sugar values ​​individually, but has the patient as the main axis as a whole!

World Diabetes Day celebration, regardless of its theme each year, remains a “World Day of Human Solidarity and Scientific Awareness” that concerns each of us as a sufferer, a sympathizer, or a healer.

November 14 is the birthday of Canadian Nobel laureate Dr. Frederick Bading (1891-1941), who invented insulin and saved millions of lives around the world. This year, 100 years after the discovery of insulin its subject World Diabetes Day (14/11) is “Diabetes affects every family”, as Diabetes rates are rising rapidly worldwide, directly or indirectly affecting every family, while it is a disease that affects not only the daily life of the patient, but also his family.

Eleni A. Kandaraki MD, PhD, MRCP (UK)
Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes HEALTH

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