Diabetes is an incurable disease. It occurs because of the lack of the hormone insulin supplied by the pancreas to the body. Thanks to insulin, glucose enters the cells of the body, and when it is lacking, the sugar level in the blood rises, while the cells feel its shortage, and this situation leads to a deterioration of the human condition.
What is diabetes and what is the basis of its prevention, found out the portal MedAboutMe.
Diabetes mellitus: types and specificity
In diabetes, the proper metabolism of water and carbohydrates is disturbed, as a result of which a malfunction of the pancreas, the main supplier of insulin, is observed. Insulin is important for the body. since the processing of sugar into glucose depends on it, but if this does not happen, the sugar accumulates in the blood and goes out with the urine from the body. This phenomenon is called hyperglycemia, and it is fraught with skin lesions, destruction of the tooth enamel, the development of atherosclerosis, renal failure, hypertension, etc.
Diabetes differentiate into two types.
The first type is caused by the death of pancreatic cells (beta cells) responsible for the production of insulin. Therefore, the result of cell death is a strong hormone deficiency. Diabetes of this type is more common in children or adolescents. Doctors believe that the impetus for its development can be a postponed viral infection, hereditary predisposition and inadequate response of the immune system.
The second type occurs mainly in people over 30 and 40 years of age with overweight. The pancreas produces a sufficient amount of insulin, but the cells of the body are not able to process it due to its reduced sensitivity to it. As a result, glucose does not enter the tissue and gradually accumulates in the blood. Over time, insulin production may decrease due to a high level of glucose in the blood – its oversupply affects the work of beta cells.
The onset of the disease is evidenced by a number of symptoms: permanent dry mouth, constant thirst, increased diuresis (daily urine output), weight increase / decrease, dryness and itching of the skin, a tendency to form skin lesions and poor wound healing, increased sweating.
If such symptoms are present, you should immediately pass tests for determining the level of glucose in the blood. After 45 years, compulsory annual blood tests for glycemia (glucose level) are shown as preventive measures, and for the risk group, a frequent examination is recommended.
Insulin: Looking for a Cure
In the XIX century. diabetes condemned thousands of people to death until a German medical university student, P. Lärgengans, made the discovery of the century. In 1869, when studying the pancreas, he noted cells in it, evenly grouped throughout the gland. Later they were called “islands of Langerhans”, and scientist E. Lagus proved that in these clusters a secret is released that influences the regulation of digestion.
In 1889, the physiologist O. Minkowski, in an attempt to disprove the theory of the role of the pancreas in the digestive system, conducted an experiment on a healthy dog, removing the gland from it. Experience has shown that without this organ, a large amount of sugar is released into the body, and this is very dangerous.
In 1900, the Russian scientist L.V. Sobolev, in the course of laboratory research, noticed that it is the islets of Langerhans that have an effect on carbohydrate metabolism, and on this basis their interrelation with diabetes was confirmed.
Sobolev’s ideas on the antidiabetic properties of the islets of Langerhans were embodied in the experiments of Canadian researchers who created insulin.
At the beginning of the last century, the Romanian professor N. Paulesko isolated an extract of the pancreas – on its basis, scientists will later create insulin, although the honor of opening belongs to Romanian scientists.
In January 1922, F. Banting, a scientist from Canada, came up with the idea of conducting an insulin experiment on a sick boy, L. Thompsone. The first injection of the drug did not have the desired effect: the extract, poorly processed, caused severe allergies in a small patient.
After a couple of weeks, Canadian biochemist D. Collip came up with a new method of insulin purification, and thanks to him, Thompson was given a second dose. medication. The second time it worked: in addition to the fact that there were no side effects, the development of diabetes was also slowed down.
The discovery of Banting and his colleague D. McLeod led them to the Nobel Prize.
For a long time, insulin was released from the pancreas of experimental animals, and in 1976, scientists first synthesized the drug. Although diabetes mellitus has still not been won, people still get a chance for a safe life thanks to insulin.
Prevention of diabetes and treatment
Sometimes the symptoms of the disease may not appear in the initial phase, but when an insufficient amount of insulin becomes critical. Therefore, many people may not suspect that they have this disease.
But diabetes of the second type can be prevented in most cases. Prevention consists in regulation of normal weight, restriction of caloric content of a food ration, increase in physical activity. These recommendations are relevant even for people at the prediabetes stage, with poor glucose digestibility.
The treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus is based on insulin injections — this will have to be done throughout life, because doctors have not yet learned how to prevent the death of beta cells, it remains only to fill their absence. At the present stage, for injection, special dispensing syringes and insulin pumps with the function of continuous injection under the skin are used.
With insulin deficiency, the patient can prescribe drugs that stimulate insulin production in the body.
In the treatment of diabetes mellitus of the second type, medications are used that eliminate the body’s immunity to the pancreatic hormone – this symptom in the doctors’ language is called insulin resistance.