Diabetes mellitus is a lifestyle disease that now affects every tenth adult in Germany. Age no longer plays a role. Young people can also get adult-onset diabetes – and older people can get type 2 diabetes, which often occurs in childhood and adolescence.

It is astonishing how long diabetes mellitus has been a disease of civilization. Only the diagnostic methods have developed somewhat over the centuries. In ancient times, doctors relied on sensory perception, quickly took a sip of the patient’s urine, let it melt in their mouth and checked the exit.

If the taste test seemed too sweet to them, the result was clear. From a medical point of view, little has changed to this day, only the diabetologist no longer has to be a urine sommelier; he can simply have the blood sugar level determined in the laboratory.

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Every tenth adult in Germany now suffers from diabetes, and the number of sufferers will increase by 77 percent to around twelve million patients by 2040. Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” – meanwhile young people can also be affected.

Our pancreas is at the center of what is happening, but from which the entire body can be affected: Every day, about one and a half to two liters of alkaline secretion are mixed here, which uses bicarbonate to neutralize the acidic chyme that occurs when we eat.

As the most important digestive gland, the pancreas releases digestive enzymes that are needed to break down protein, carbohydrates, fats and nucleic acids (genetic material). If it no longer fulfills its duty of care, the patient often does not notice anything for a long time. Only when 90 percent of the excreting pancreas function has failed does he feel symptoms.

Yael Adler is a dermatologist and bestselling author. She has completed additional training in phlebology (vein medicine) and nutritional medicine. Her specialty: The influence of nutrition and psyche on the skin.

In addition to the exocrine (release to the outside), the pancreas also has the task of producing hormones – its endocrine (release to the inside of the body) function. Smaller parts of tissue within the pancreas, the islets of Langerhans, are responsible for the production of hormones, including insulin and glucagon.

When there is a disruption in the sensitivity of the tissues to insulin (insulin resistance), too much sugar stays outside and does not get into the cell, so the pancreas produces more and more insulin to compensate, so that the blood sugar levels are normalized until the cells are exhausted and insulin production falls. Diabetes occurs.

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in childhood and adolescence, triggered by autoimmune processes such as after viral infections, but also in adults. This destroys the insulin-producing cells. Lifestyle and obesity play no role here. Those affected have to supply the missing insulin with syringes or insulin pumps for the rest of their lives and closely monitor their blood sugar levels.

If you eat carbohydrates or do sports and your muscles use the sugar more quickly, you have to inject more or less insulin, and do it very carefully: an overdose, underdose or lack of insulin can be fatal in the worst case. With trained self-management, however, the chances for a normal quality of life increase.

All about our largest organ – Yael Adler

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is mostly caused by our western lifestyle. Lean people with genetic mutations are also sometimes affected. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age

Children whose parents have type 2 diabetes have a 50 percent chance of developing it themselves. If both parents are ill, the risk increases to 80 percent. Prevention is therefore very important, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. The diabetologist advises on prevention or an existing disease on what diet and what kind of lifestyle is appropriate in the individual case.

Keep a close eye on your values ​​and get through the time healthy!