There are nearly seven million people in Germany with known diabetes - but estimates suggest that many more people with diabetes are still unrecognized. The more people know about the risk of diabetes, the causes and symptoms and its precursors, the sooner you can take countermeasures. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic sugar metabolism disorder in which the hormone insulin plays an important role. Hence the colloquial term "diabetes".
Insulin lowers the blood sugar level
When the blood sugar concentration in the blood rises, the hormone insulin is released into the blood from certain cells of the pancreas (the Langerhans cells), because the blood sugar can enter the individual body cells only with insulin as a key. Without insulin, the blood sugar concentration in the blood is very high, but the organs "starve" because no sugar gets into it.
The excess sugar in the blood is excreted in the urine, causing the urine to be sweet. Hence the name of the disease: Diabetes mellitus means as much as honey-sweet flow.
Forms and causes of diabetes
Being overweight as one of the causes of diabetes causes the organs to want more and more insulin until they let the blood sugar into the cells. One speaks of insulin resistance, an important harbinger of diabetes mellitus. Obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and lipid metabolism disorders are called the "deadly quartet" or the metabolic syndrome - all are painless diseases that can have fatal consequences.
The following forms of diabetes exist:
- Insulin resistance is gradually developing into the most common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes, which is called trivializing and also called adult-onset diabetes.
- A rarer type of diabetes is type 1 diabetes, in which the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas in childhood or adolescence are destroyed by an immune process - this is why we also speak of juvenile diabetes.
- There is also the gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes), which - as its name implies - occurs for the first time in pregnancy.
- In addition, there are diabetes forms that arise in diseases of the pancreas, for example, in a chronic inflammation.
Symptoms and signs of diabetes
Possible signs or symptoms of diabetes include:
- excessive thirst
- large quantities of urine
- an inexplicable weight loss
- a tendency to infections
- Fatigue and loss of performance
- badly healing wounds
- dry and itchy skin
At worst, as a result of the symptoms, the diabetic coma comes with nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.
The type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly over years, in type 1 diabetes it comes more within weeks to the onset of the disease. Gestational diabetes leads above all to a risk to the child, in addition, it can develop a so-called pregnancy poisoning (gestosis).
The problem with diabetes is the usually slow development of insulin resistance. Many internal organs are already affected, while the disease is not yet known or the symptoms and signs are not yet obvious.