What is diabetes

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 The number of people with diabetes continues to increase. In 2014, according to the WHO, diabetes affected 422 million people worldwide against 108 in 1980. During this period, the prevalence of diabetes in adults over 18 years has almost doubled, from 4.7% to 8.5%. And the WHO’s outlook for 2030 is not encouraging given the increasingly sedentary lifestyle changes and unbalanced diet.

France is no exception to this epidemic, which has progressed faster than expected, especially among men, young people and the elderly. It is now considered a public health priority.


Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two main forms of this pathology. It follows an abnormality in the production, use and storage of sugars supplied by food and results in an abnormal concentration of sugar in the blood, causing chronic hyperglycemia. A healthy body automatically regulates this blood sugar level.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes – or insulin-dependent diabetes – more often affects children, adolescents and even young adults. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough or at all insulin. This abnormality is linked to abnormal functioning of the immune system which destroys the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing the hormone. To compensate, it must be administered “artificially” on a daily basis by a subcutaneous injection of insulin (via a syringe, pen or pump). This is insulin therapy.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes – whether non-insulin-dependent or insulin-dependent diabetes – is the most common. Type 2 diabetes represents 90% of cases. It most often concerns people over 45 with an often unbalanced diet, overweight or even obese. These people can thus cope with insulin resistance: insulin is misused by the cells of the body, resulting in repeated hyperglycaemia. Treatment of type 2 diabetes with an insulin pump and medical monitoring limit the sometimes serious consequences of the disease.

Symptoms of diabetes

We sometimes talk about diabetes as a silent disease

Indeed, diabetes can be asymptomatic for years before a diagnosis is made. Its recognized symptoms are nonetheless multiple and their occurrence should alert to the potential presence of diabetes.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

Abundant and frequent urine, sensation of abnormal thirst, weight loss despite a stable appetite, fatigue, visual disturbances, abdominal pain, infections are the main symptoms of type 1 diabetes. A laboratory examination also reveals too high fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels. . In the presence of some of these symptoms, which can be sudden and rapid onset, screening is advised.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be discovered incidentally during an analysis or following a related health problem (visual disturbances, muscle pain, impotence, cardiovascular disease, coma …). The symptoms of type 2 diabetes resemble – albeit less intense, however – those of type 1 diabetes: fatigue, more frequent urge to urinate, increased thirst and hunger, itching of the genitals, slow healing, dry eyes, more frequent infections (urinary tract infections, yeast infections, furunculosis …

The causes and risk factors of diabetes

It is not yet known why the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed and consequently lead to the development of diabetes in the medium term. Many hypotheses are formulated and certain risk factors for diabetes are however well identified.

Diabetes in adults

Adults usually have type 2 diabetes. There is no single reason for this diabetes, but a combination of causes and risk factors. Foremost among which are an unbalanced diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle or low physical activity. The duo then promotes overweight or even obesity, present in 60 to 90% of type 2 diabetics. To these environmental factors are added hereditary (family history can increase the probability of developing diabetes) and genetic ( some populations are more affected than others). Pregnancy and the birth of babies over 4 kgs also require increased monitoring.

Diabetes in children and adolescents

The precise causes of type 1 diabetes, which more specifically affects children and adolescents, are not more precisely established. While a genetic predisposition linked to certain genes of the HLA system located on chromosome 6 has been demonstrated, in 9 out of 10 cases, however, there is no family history. Other environmental factors are cited by epidemiologists: viral infections, early introduction of cow’s milk, stress, toxins, vitamin D deficiency in infants, age of the mother during pregnancy, etc. It has however been noted that type 1 diabetes often started a few days after a viral infection, severe stress, or emotional shock.

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