World Diabetes Day: types, prevention and progress

An estimated 415 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). In the general population, i.e. in non-diabetics, blood sugar levels are considered normal when, when fasting, i.e. after eight hours without food, they are less than 110 mg/dL. To learn a little more and to prevent this growing disease, we wanted to count on the experience of the specialist in Endocrinology and member of Top Doctors, Dr. Llorente Gómez de Segura.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not generate enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Types of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: sufferers do not produce enough insulin and must inject it to survive. It usually manifests itself in children. It may be caused by genetics, autoimmunity or environmental damage, i.e. due to a virus, toxins, a food substance or some other factor that is currently unknown.
  • Type 2: the ability to produce insulin does not disappear, but the body presents a resistance to this hormone. In early stages of the disease, the amount of insulin generated by the pancreas is normal or high, although it may decrease over time. It is more frequent in people over 40 years of age. Genetic or hereditary factors or lifestyle are agents that promote this type of diabetes.

Diabetes prevention

It is estimated that by 2040, the number of people with diabetes will increase to 642 million worldwide, i.e. one in ten people will suffer from diabetes. Good lifestyle habits will exponentially condition the prevention or worsening of this disease.

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In this sense, Dr. Llorente Gómez de Segura indicates that “it is not possible to prevent type 1 diabetes, given its mechanism of appearance due to immunological processes that are practically impossible to predict. However, type 2 diabetes is more preventable in most cases. The way? Maintaining an adequate weight and regular physical activity, in other words, leading a healthy life”.

Advances in the treatment of diabetes

Thanks to research into the factors involved in the development of type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, progress has been made in its treatment. This has led to the appearance of drugs that offer better results, both in terms of blood glucose control and the presence of fewer severe side effects and a reduction in cardiovascular complications.

In addition, the endocrinologist highlights as an advance “the contribution of new insulins that are simpler and more convenient to use and have a more physiological action profile, that is, more similar to the normal production of insulin by the pancreas”. The possibility of injecting insulin only once a day and the reduction in the number of glucose drops or hypoglycemia are just a few examples of the advantages offered by this new type of insulin.

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