Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases that affects millions of people. Every year the number of patients with this diagnosis is only growing. And today it is the leading cause of death all over the world. The history of this disease started in approximately 1550BC. The term 'diabetes' was probably created by Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC.
So, what is diabetes? According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic disease that happens when the pancreas can no longer make insulin, or when the body is unable effectively to use the insulin it produces. Insulin, as is known, is a hormone made by the pancreas that plays an important role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates in the food we eat are broken down into glucose, known as the main source of energy for our cells. And insulin is necessary to bring glucose into the cells. Without insulin, the level of glucose rises and, in the long-term, it damages organs, blood vessels and nerves.
What are the early signs and symptoms of diabetes?
As we all know, there are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear in childhood or adolescence and are much more severe. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes mellitus occur rapidly while type 2 develops gradually. As a result, at least 25% of people with diabetes are unaware of their condition. By the way, researchers from Sweden and Finland offer a new classification system for diabetes mellitus and identify five types of the disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 422 million people in the world have diabetes. The most common is type 2 diabetes that happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin. And, as usual, this type occurs in adults. In the United States 34.2 million Americans, just over 1 in 10, have diabetes. 88 million American adults, approximately 1 in 3, have prediabetes. More than 4.8 million people suffer from this disease in the UK. This is equal to one in 14 people.
In general, both types develop in different ways, but anyway, they have several symptoms in common: dry mouth, frequent urination, severe hunger, fatigue, skin problems and increased infections. According to The Express, citing data from the American Academy of Dermatology Association, one of the early signs of type 2 diabetes is having persistently itchy, dry skin which peels. And an estimated one-third of people with diabetes may experience skin problems.
Why is diabetes so dangerous?
Poor control of blood sugar levels over a prolonged period can lead to health problems, and as a result, serious complications can arise. After a while, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. And one of the most serious complications is lower limb amputation.
Can diabetes be prevented?
Diabetes is a serious illness that cannot be cured, although everyone can prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce the possibility of its occurrence. One of the main risk factors is age - after 40 years the risk increases significantly. The major risk factors also include overweight and low physical activity. Thus, it is important to control a healthy body weight and move more every day. Healthy eating and reducing sugar intake can also help us prevent many chronic diseases. Breaking bad habits is one more important thing that helps us to be healthy.
As we see, prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus is quite simple and does not require much effort. Living a healthy lifestyle and having regular health checkups may be the key to good health.