Type 2 diabetes is a widespread disease that affects around seven million people in Germany. The tricky thing is that the disease begins insidiously and the first symptoms are often non-specific. So great thirst, unwanted weight loss or fatigue can indicate the metabolic disease.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes
he age of onset for type 2 diabetes is usually after the age of 40, but more and more overweight children and adolescents are becoming ill with type 2 diabetes. Patients at risk should not wait for symptoms, but should measure their blood sugar levels regularly. The diabetes risk group includes close relatives of diabetic patients, as well as people with obesity, high blood pressure and fat change problems.
Women who have had gestational diabetes are also at risk. However, experts believe that type 2 diabetes mellitus results from the coincidence of several factors and not from one factor alone.
Typical symptoms for type 2 diabetes:
- Fatigue and fatigue
- frequent and strong thirst
- increased urge to urinate
- weight loss
- itchy, rough skin and poorly healing wounds
- blurred vision
- Circulatory problems in the legs
Causes: Sugar is not the main reason for diabetes
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is considered a disease of civilization. Contrary to popular belief, high sugar consumption is not the cause of the disease. Rather, various factors cause the sugar balance to derail.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It arises on the one hand from a reduced sensitivity of the body cells to insulin (insulin resistance), and on the other hand a long overproduction of insulin leads to an “exhaustion” of the insulin-producing cells. The pancreas cannot supply enough insulin for the increased need – the sugar concentration in the blood is increased and nevertheless a lack of energy can arise in the cells.
Diagnosis: Detect type 2 diabetes
When diagnosing type 2 diabetes, the doctor first takes a thorough medical history in which risk factors and symptoms are discussed. There are various test methods available to make a reliable diagnosis:
- Determination of occasional glucose: The measurement can be taken at any time of the day, you don’t have to be sober.
- Determination of fasting blood sugar: The patient should not have eaten eight hours beforehand.
- oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT): The patient should have been fasting for ten hours and should have had a high carbohydrate diet for at least three days beforehand. Smoking is not allowed before and during the test.
- Determination of HbA1c (long-term blood sugar): HbA1c (glycohemoglobin) is the red blood cell dye (hemoglobin) that is linked to sugar residues. The value shows how high the concentration of blood sugar has been in the last six to eight weeks. With HbA1c ≥ 6.5 percent (48 mmol / mol) one speaks of manifest diabetes mellitus. A value ≤ 6.5 percent does not rule out the existence of diabetes! Further diagnostics using fasting glucose or oGTT is required.
What the blood sugar values mean: Values above 100 mg / dl (5.6 mmol / l) when fasted or from 140 mg / dl (7.8 mmol / l) about two hours after a meal are considered to be increased. Those affected should then be examined more closely.
Treatment: lifestyle change, tablets and syringes
Several therapy modules are available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. As a rule, treatment is carried out according to a phased plan. The first step is regular exercise, an appropriate diet and weight loss if necessary. These measures improve the sensitivity of the body’s cells to insulin and reduce the need for insulin.
If the lifestyle change is unsuccessful, various medications are available that can be taken, for example, as tablets (oral diabetics). If the measure from stage two is not sufficient, two drugs are combined with each other (double combination), therapy with insulin is also possible. If the blood sugar levels are still not in the normal range, intensive insulin therapy takes place in stage four, which can also be combined with tablets if necessary.
Consequences of type 2 diabetes
If the blood sugar in diabetics is set incorrectly, it can have serious health consequences. If the values are permanently too high, blood vessels, nerves and organs are damaged. Common comorbidities in diabetes are:
- Vascular and nerve damage (polyneuritis)
- diabetic foot due to vascular damage
- coronary heart disease, associated with increased risk of heart attack
- Retinal disorders / diabetic retinopathy
- diabetic kidney disease (dialysis risk)
- arterial occlusive diseases of the leg arteries
- Skin infections and poor wound healing
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Regular check-ups by the doctor help diabetics to reduce the risk of complications. The doctor can recognize and treat existing diseases at an early stage.
Prevention: These five rules help
Those affected should change their lifestyle. In addition to sufficient exercise, four other factors can reduce the risk of diabetes. This is a healthy diet, normal weight, no smoking and moderate alcohol consumption. US researchers claim that you can reduce your risk of diabetes by 80 percent if you take these five factors into account.
Important NOTE: The information is by no means a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online.de cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start treatments.