Diabetes: Much ignorance circulates about the widespread disease

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What you should know about diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most widespread serious chronic diseases in Germany. Despite its high incidence, however, there is a great deal of ignorance about diabetes among the population, as a recent survey makes clear.

Those affected always have to inject themselves with insulin – don’t they? And what do type 1 and type 2 mean anyway? Although millions of Germans live with diabetes, there are major gaps in knowledge about the disease.

Survey shows: There is a lot of ignorance about diabetes

Diabetes is a widespread disease. But many people lack knowledge about it, as an Ipsos survey commissioned by the magazine “Diabetes Ratgeber” shows. Almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) said they knew next to nothing about the triggers or consequences of the metabolic disease. Only three out of ten respondents said they could explain what the difference is between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What distinguishes type 1 from type 2

In type 1 diabetes, the body can no longer produce enough insulin itself. This means that patients have to inject themselves with the hormone as needed throughout their lives. This form of diabetes usually starts suddenly, often in childhood and adolescence.

Type 2 diabetes often develops insidiously. In this case, insulin no longer has the desired effect in the body’s cells, so that the cells no longer absorb sugar well as a source of energy – it remains in the blood in increased quantities. The technical term is insulin resistance.

As a result, the pancreas produces even more insulin so that blood sugar levels drop. As a result, the cells in the gland become increasingly exhausted, so that at some point there may also be a shortage of insulin.

Causes of diabetes

The exact causes of the autoimmune reaction that triggers type 1 diabetes have not yet been fully researched. In the case of type 2 diabetes, risk factors include hereditary predisposition, obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. According to estimates by the German Diabetes Society (DDG), just under ten percent of people in Germany live with diabetes. The majority of them have type 2 diabetes.

How the disease is treated

According to the Ipsos survey, there is another widespread misconception about how the disease is treated: According to the survey, 18 percent – a good one in six – believe that people with diabetes always have to inject themselves with insulin.

It is true that only type 1 diabetes always requires insulin.
insulin is always required. In the case of type 2 diabetes, a certain proportion of patients are treated with insulin. However, according to the DDG, around half can be treated without medication, for example by changing their diet, exercising and losing weight.

There is no vaccination against diabetes

What does not exist is a vaccination against diabetes – even if twelve percent of people believe this according to the survey. Two thousand people aged 14 and over were surveyed.

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