Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the endocrine system caused by an absolute or relative deficiency in the body of the pancreatic hormone insulin and manifested by profound disorders of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common, but not often diagnosed diseases, as it has many “masks”. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus among the population is currently in the range of 10%. Every 10-15 years, the total number of cases doubles.
In addition to the above, 30-35% of patients have “hidden”, previously undetected diabetes.
There are two main forms of diabetes:
- 1st type (insulin-dependent);
- 2nd type (insulin-dependent).
People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin. In the occurrence of this form of diabetes with a genetic predisposition to it, viral infections, environmental factors, and nutritional errors play an important role.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas continues to produce insulin, but the body reacts poorly to the influence of the hormone, which leads to a relative deficiency of insulin.
The reasons for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (non-insulin dependent) are: genetic predisposition; obesity, often associated with overeating (from 80 to 90% of people with this disease are overweight), as well as diseases of the endocrine system: pathology of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland (hypo- and hyperfunction), adrenal cortex. Diabetes mellitus can occur as a complication of viral diseases (flu, viral hepatitis, herpes virus, etc.), pancreatitis, pancreatic tumors.
The first symptoms of diabetes are due to high blood sugar and are manifested in increased urine production, the patient urinates a lot and often (polyuria), excessive urination causes excessive thirst (polydipsia). Since a person loses a lot of calories in the form of glucose with urine, there is an increased feeling of hunger, a “wolf” appetite appears. In addition, with diabetes, drowsiness, fatigue, itching in the perineum, decreased visual acuity, chilliness of the limbs, etc., may disturb.
Elevated blood sugar, in diabetes, over time leads to damage to the blood vessels of the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, lower extremities and the development of severe complications (heart attacks, strokes, retinal detachment with the development of blindness, kidney failure, gangrene of the lower extremities) .
Complications of diabetes can be prevented by maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Treatment for diabetes includes the following activities:
- diet (restriction of sugar and other carbohydrates, also fats in the diet): sometimes one diet is enough to compensate for the disorder (this is the so-called mild diabetes);
- intake of hypoglycemic products: these products, which can increase the susceptibility of body cells to insulin, also themselves contribute to the penetration of sugar into cells;
- insulin products;
- various means for correcting the complications of diabetes.
Treatment of diabetes with insulin and some hypoglycemic agents requires strict control of blood sugar levels. The main danger with such a correction is an overdose of these products, as a result of which the blood sugar content can drop sharply and lead to the so-called hypoglycemic coma and even death of the sick person. It can be quite difficult to select insulin products and their optimal dosages, since many factors will need to be taken into account: how much the patient’s physical activity changes throughout the day, how clearly the blood sugar level is controlled, how stable the patient’s sugar content is, taking into account the diet, caloric content of food , and much more.
For the purpose of control, individual glucometers are used – devices with which patients themselves measure the level of glucose in the blood. Based on the readings of the glucometer, a person can dose insulin himself.