Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting the body’s ability to manage the sugar in the blood. The disease strikes both children and adults. In Denmark 5.7 % of the population has diabetes, of which type 2-diabetes makes 90 %.1
Insulin is a hormone enabling the body’s cells to transform the sugar in the blood to energy. People suffering from type 2-diabetes do either not produce enough insulin or their cells cannot make good enough use of the insulin, which is why the amount of sugar in the blood increases.
Sometimes symptoms of diabetes are so mild, that they are not discovered. Some of the most common symptoms are: Thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, blurred vision, irritation, fatigue, prickly or numb sensation in hands or feet, or wounds that do not heal.
The diagnosis may be made in three different ways:
- A blood test called ”HbA1c”, stating the average level of blood sugar over the last 2-3 months.
- Fast measuring reading the blood sugar on empty stomach (minimum 8 hours’ fast)
- A blood test called ”oral glucose tolerance test (OGGT)”, measuring the blood sugar before and after drinking a sugar-containing beverage. The test shows how the body handles the sugar content in the blood.
Primary treatment goal is to maintain the blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Early in the course of the disease this can be obtained by eating healthier and doing exercise daily. Later on, the disease can develop further, and one or more types of medicines will be necessary. Today, several types of medicine exist (tablets or injections), which each in its own way can help reduce the blood sugar.
Quality of life
In the long term diabetes can lead to what we call late-stage complications, which for instance can be cardiovascular disease. Patients suffering from type 2-diabetes may experience that the handling of the disease – and especially the fear for or presence of late-stage complications – effect their quality of life and their own perception of their general health status.
1. www.diabetes.dk/presse/diabetes-i-tal/diabetes-i-danmark.aspx, december 2017
Further patient and next-of-kin information about type 2-diabetes can among others be required from: