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What is diabetes?

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is an energy metabolism disorder that is based on blood glucose regulatory hormone, insulin, absolute or relative deficits. It is is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. The reasons can be:

  • pancreatic insufficiency of insulin production
  • insulin resistance

On average, diabetes affects 6.4% of the world's population.

Diabetic is classified as:

  • Type I diabetes (Insulin-dependent diabetes). The reason is insulin producing beta cells destruction due to inflammation or autoimmune inflammation. The cause is unknown.
  • Type II diabetes is a so-called lifestyle disease, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly.
  • Gestational diabetes. Occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels.
  • Secondary diabetes (a disease associated with another disease). Occurs for example after, inflammation of the pancreas, a disorder of hormonal function, a pancreatic surgery, or a rare surgery.

In Estonia about 85-95% of all diabetics suffer from Type II diabetes. Normal blood sugar level is lower than 6.0 mmol / l. Type II diabetes can last for years unnoticed, and the disease is diagnosed only by accidental blood tests or when already the damages/complications of the disease are occurring.

Symptoms indicative of possible diabetes:

  • increased thirst and dry mouth
  • increased urination
  • fatigue/weakness
  • increased hunger
  • unexpected weight loss
  • slow-healing sores
  • recurrent infections or inflammation
  • blurred vision

Prevention and treatment involve maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, a normal body weight, and avoiding use of tobacco. The goal of diabetes treatment is to prevent its complications and keep up good quality of life.

Diabetes complications include:

  • cardiovascular disorders/disease
  • foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications.
  • eye damage (retinopathy)d
  • impotence
  • kidney damage
  • nerve damage (neuropathy)

Non-diabetic patients should go to a family doctor or family nurse when they have doubts for increased blood sugar or feel indicative symptoms of diabetes.

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