Diabetes Mellitus: The pandemic of the century
Nowadays diabetes mellitus (DM) is considered as the pandemic of the century, the world has more than 347 million people affected by this disease.
Diabetes is a chronic and systemic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and the absolute or relative defi cit of it causes hyperglycemia (blood sugar increase) that eventually produces damage to organ and systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
There are several risk factors that can put paid to the appearance of this disease such as: advanced age, obesity, family history of diabetes, race, lifestyle (obesity and physical inactivity), low birth weight ...
Diabetes is classified into 4 groups:
Diabetes mellitus type 1, usually appears early before age 30. It is characterized by absolute insulin defi ciency where there is a total destruction of the cells that produce it and a daily administration of this hormone by the patient is required. Its symptoms include, among others, excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger (polyphagia), weight loss, visual disorder and fatigue. These symptoms may appear suddenly.
Diabetes mellitus type 2, often occurs in adults but can appear at early ages of life, it is due to ineffi cient use of insulin. This type represents the 90% of global cases and is largely due to excessive body weight and physical inactivity. This type of diabetes can require either insulin administration or the use of oral medications depending on the degree of metabolic control of the patient. The symptoms may be similar to type 1 diabetes, but often less intense.
Gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy and one characteristic that shows that the mother developed diabetes during pregnancy is macrosomia (birth weight of more than 7 pounds).
Prevention of DM2, which accounts for 90% of global cases, is based on changes in lifestyle and includes weight loss, practice of physical activity for at least, avoidance of tobacco consumption and to have healthy food like 3-5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables and a small amount of sugar and saturated fat. These strategies aiming to prevent this disease are very effective as to tackle one of the major epidemics of the XXI century.