NOTÍCIAS / What is diabetes?
  • What is diabetes?

    Diabetes mellitus is a disease of glucose metabolism caused by the lack or malabsorption of insulin, hormone produced by the pancreas and whose function is to break down glucose molecules to turn them into energy so that it is harnessed by all cells. The total or partial absence of this hormone interferes not only in the burning of sugar but also in its transformation into other substances (proteins, muscles and fat).

    In fact, it is not a single disease, but a set of diseases with a common characteristic, the increase in blood glucose concentration caused by two different situations:

    * Type 1 diabetes: The pancreas produces little or no insulin. The ongoing of the disease occurs more in childhood and adolescence and is insulin dependent, that is, requires the application of daily insulin injections.

    * Type 2 diabetes: Cells are resistant to the action of insulin. The incidence of the disease that may not be insulin-dependent generally affects people over 40 years of age;

    In addition to these most common situations mentioned above, we can find diabetes in:

    * Gestational diabetes: Occurs during pregnancy and, in most cases, is caused by excessive weight gain of the mother;

    * Diabetes associated with other pathologies such as alcoholic pancreatitis, use of certain medications etc.

    Today, in Brazil, there are more than 13 million people living with diabetes, representing 6.9% of the population. And that number is growing. In some cases, the diagnosis delays, favoring the appearance of complications.

    The delay in identifying the symptoms and signs of diabetes, although common, can have a devastating impact on the overall health of the patient. Among them are:

    * Polyuria: the person urinates too much and, as this dehydrates, feels very good (polydpsia);

    * Increased appetite;

    * Visual changes;

    * Sexual impotence;

    * Fungal infections on the skin and nails;

    * Wounds, especially in the lower limbs, that take time to heal;

    * Diabetic neuropathies caused by impaired nerve endings;

    * Heart and heart disorders.

    The risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes, in addition to overweight and obesity and age over 45 years are:

    * Obesity (including childhood obesity);

    * Heredity;

    * Lack of regular physical activity;

    * Hypertension;

    * High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides;

    * Medicines, such as cortisone-based medicines;

    * Age over 40 years (for type 2 diabetes);

    * Emotional stress.

    Diabetes cannot be dissociated from other glandular diseases. In addition to obesity, other metabolic disorders (excess cortisone, growth hormone or increased adrenaline production) may be associated with diabetes.  The treatment of diabetes requires, in addition to specialized medical follow-up, the care of a multidisciplinary team.

    Type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent, requires the use of insulin by injection to supply the body of this hormone that is no longer produced by the pancreas. Discontinuation of medication can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening metabolic disorder.

     Type 2 Diabetes does not depend on insulin application and can be controlled by oral medications. Decompensated disease can lead to hyperosmolar coma, a serious complication that can be fatal.

    Balanced diet is critical for diabetes control. The guidance of a nutritionist and the follow-up of psychologists and psychiatrists can greatly help reduce weight and, as a consequence, creates the possibility of using smaller doses of medicines. Physical activity is of utmost importance to reduce the level of glucose in both types of diabetes.

    Early diagnosis is the first step towards successful treatment. Don't minimize your symptoms. Look for a health service if you are urinating too much and feeling too much thirsty and hungry.