A universal public health problem. Diabetes, excess sugar in the blood, affects more than 450 million people worldwide. In Brazil, about 16 million people have both forms of the disease (type 1, when the pancreas does not produce insulin, and type 2, when cells resist the action of insulin, which represents 90% of cases). . And the incidence increases in adults and adolescents, the main cause being increasing weight gain. To help you better understand the disease, we’ve put together these 13 Diabetes Facts You Probably Didn’t Know.
13 facts about diabetes: unknown disease
According to the Ministry of Health, 50% of Brazilians do not even know they have diabetes, which is very serious. The disease increases the risk of cardiovascular complications by 3 to 5 times and is the main cause of kidney failure, blindness and amputation, reducing life expectancy by between 5 and 10 years. But the disease can be perfectly controlled, sometimes just with lifestyle changes…
1. Is type 1 diabetes an inherited disease? Are you born with it?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The person is not born with it, but it can develop during childhood or even in adulthood, the result of an autoimmune attack on the pancreas, which no longer produces insulin.
2. How much does type 2 diabetes have to do with lifestyle: obesity, physical inactivity, etc.?
Type 2 diabetes has a hereditary factor, but is strongly influenced by a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight. Many people who have first-degree relatives with diabetes can prevent its appearance if they maintain an adequate weight and an active lifestyle, avoiding stress and a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Can too much sugar cause diabetes?
No, what can cause diabetes is obesity resulting from excessive intake of sugars, which causes greater resistance to the action of insulin in the cells.
4. Are people with glucose in the 100/125 range really prediabetic? Will they become diabetic, necessarily?
They are prediabetic and if there is not a change in lifestyle, with weight loss and physical activity, there is, yes, a great possibility of becoming diabetic.
5. What is the metabolic parameter that determines the need to take insulin? Some specific glycemic index there is no going back?
Insulin is indicated when the patient is type 1 diabetic or when the type 2 diabetic does not respond adequately to oral hypoglycemic agents. Over time, lack of disease control can cause the pancreas to no longer produce enough insulin for hypoglycemic agents to produce good control, so insulin is indicated.
6. How is pancreatic insufficiency measured or perceived?
When blood glucose levels do not fall despite intensive oral medication and the person continues to lose weight and has symptoms of hyperglycemia. It can also measure peptide secretion, which indicates how much insulin the pancreas makes.
7. What percentage of patients with type 2 diabetes will eventually become insulin dependent?
Today, with new drugs, the need for insulin in type 2 diabetes has decreased. Many patients can live well-controlled for years without needing insulin. Because of this, it is difficult to predict how many patients will inevitably progress to insulin use.
8. Once insulin dependent, always insulin dependent?
No, insulin may be necessary in a time of lack of control, for secondary reasons such as infections and stress. Once the critical phase is over, insulin can be withdrawn. Insulin is only absolutely necessary in patients with type 1 diabetes and in patients with type 2 diabetes who no longer produce insulin.
9. How do antidiabetic drugs work? Does your action tend to lose effectiveness over time?
There are several modes of action of hypoglycemic agents. They may act by decreasing glucose absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing secretion of counterregulatory hormones, and also by stimulating insulin production by the pancreas. Today, a combination of medications can be used that together result in good blood glucose control. They don’t go away, but since the pancreas is being stimulated by some of these medications for years, this can lead to fatigue and a decreased ability of the pancreas to produce insulin.
10. Does a type 1 diabetic always have a potentially higher risk of complications than type 2?
Type 1 diabetes is a more difficult disease to control and, being a disease that affects individuals from childhood, it can cause complications more frequently than type 2. However, today it is not possible to accept that a patient living diabetic without control. You can avoid all the complications that in the past were a stigma of the disease. Diabetes can and should be well controlled and people with diabetes can lead normal lives without complications.
11. Is the life of type 1 diabetics, with the advancement of technology, much better today than in the recent past?
Certainly, today we have better insulins, with greater ease of application, either through pens or insulin pumps. Blood glucose meters are more portable and the government allows everyone to have access to this technology, which makes it possible to control the disease much better than in the past.
12. Is diabetes the disease of our time, perhaps more so than hypertension?
Diabetes remains the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, non-accidental amputations, and end-stage renal failure. However, hypertension is also a disease of the present and, together with diabetes, forms the duo of the main risk factors for serious and disabling complications.
13. What can’t and shouldn’t a diabetic eat?
You should not eat free sugars and you should avoid large amounts of carbohydrates in the same meal. You should also follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet if you are overweight. The diet should always be individualized, varying according to the lifestyle of each patient.
13 facts about diabetes: two diseases in one
Diabetes, in fact, is two diseases in one and a fertile field for the generation of many others. Type 1 diabetics do not produce insulin and daily injections are essential for their survival. Type 2 diabetics (DM2) produce insulin, but the body is not sensitive to the hormone. So, the body begins to produce it, more and more, to compensate for this resistance. The action of insulin is progressively lost, preventing the passage of sugar from the blood to the cells. The liver tries to compensate and increases sugar production, leading to a buildup in the blood.
The treatment of DM2 includes dietary reeducation and physical exercise. Regarding drugs, there are metformin (which acts on insulin resistance indirectly and basically in the liver) and sulfonylureas (which stimulate the production of more insulin). Drugs that act on insulin resistance, the glitazones, have recently emerged. What makes the discovery of these insulin sensitizers a breakthrough is that they use insulin already available in the body, acting directly on cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue. Rosiglitazone, for example, allows insulin to facilitate glucose’s proper access to cells, reducing and preventing the toxicity of these excess circulating “sugars” on the heart, blood vessels, and brain.
Being diabetic does not mean living with irreversible damage. Follow your doctor’s recommendations, adjust your diet, exercise, lose excess weight, and strictly use medication. It is unacceptable that such an old disease still contributes to the death of tens of thousands of Brazilians annually, consuming the expectation and quality of life of many others.
Source: Magazine ABCFarma. Edition 239. “ABC of Diabetes” – By Arnaldo Ansar, adapted.
The above 13 diabetes facts are for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and monitoring of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.
14th diabetes fact
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