Diabetes is a chronic disease that appears due to an alteration of the pancreas in the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for transforming into energy the sugars contained in food. Either the body does not manufacture the amount of insulin that the human body needs, or the factory of a lower quality. As a result, a person with diabetes does not absorb glucose properly, so it is circulating in the blood (hyperglycemia) and damaging the tissues over time.
The Diabetes Unit of the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja is formed by a multidisciplinary and coordinated team composed of different specialties such as endocrinology, nursing, ophthalmology, angiology and cardiology, among others. The objective of this unit is to support the patient and their families, so that they can maintain control of the disease as independently as possible.
This disease affects 6% of the population and the chances of contracting it increase as a person grows older, so that over seventy years it suffers about 15% of people.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction, in which the body's defense system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and, therefore, the body stops producing the insulin it needs. It occurs between 5 and 10% of patients with diabetes mellitus and mostly appears in children or young adults.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes because it occurs in 90 to 95% of cases. It usually appears in adults who are not insulin-dependent. The body is able to produce insulin, but either it is not enough, or it does not respond to its effects, causing an accumulation of glucose in the blood.
- Gestational diabetes is one that is diagnosed to a woman for the first time during pregnancy. It usually occurs at an advanced stage and arises because the body can not produce or use enough insulin needed for pregnancy.
From a health point of view, it is essential to educate patients to control their diabetes properly, as it can lead to other diseases as important as diabetes itself: cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, retinopathy (eye disease that can lead to blindness) or nephropathy (kidney disease).
The treatment of diabetes is based on three main pillars: diet, physical exercise and medication. It aims to keep blood glucose levels within normal limits to minimize the risk of complications associated with the disease.
In many patients with type 2 diabetes, medication would not be necessary if the excess weight was controlled and a regular exercise program was carried out. However, insulin replacement therapy or oral hypoglycemic drugs are often needed.