Diabetes mellitus: basic information

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common diseases. So in 2011 there were already more than 366 million people with diabetes in the world, and by 2025 their number could increase to 552 million 1 , experts at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predict.

From the depths of centuries

When did diabetes first appear? There is no consensus among medical historians on this point. The first mention of this disease occurs in the III century BC in manuscripts of ancient Egypt. The anatomical description of the pancreas was first made in 1642, although in those days, doctors did not associate diabetes with this particular organ of the human body. In 1776, the English doctor Matthew Dobson found out that the sweetish taste of the urine of patients is associated with the presence of sugar in it, and from this date the disease was called diabetes mellitus. However, only in the twentieth century were drugs based on the hormone of the pancreas insulin, as well as sugar-lowering drugs that saved the lives of millions of people.

Nowadays, people with diabetes live a full life, achieve everything that they have in mind, and this diagnosis is no longer fatal. There are many famous people in the world who prove by their lifestyle that diabetes is not a disease, but a way of life. Diabetes did not stop Sharon Stone and Holly Berry from becoming famous actresses, Nicole Johnson – “Miss America 98”, Pele – a soccer player, and swimmer Harry Hall to win Olympic gold.

What is diabetes?

The causes of diabetes can be the absence or deficiency of the hormone insulin in the human body, as well as a violation of the mechanism of use of insulin by the corresponding cells when it is produced in sufficient quantities. Insulin plays the role of a kind of “key”, ensuring the penetration of sugar from the blood into the cells of the human body. As a result of the absence or lack of insulin, the sugar content in the blood exceeds the norm. Doctors divide diabetes into two types: 1st — insulin-dependent and 2nd — non-insulin-dependent.  

Modern methods of diabetes therapy do not yet provide an opportunity to completely cure the disease, but they can successfully control the disease. However, this is possible only in combination with drug therapy with the right diet, regular exercise and regular measurement of blood glucose. A good compensation for diabetes serves to prevent the onset and development of its acute and chronic complications.

The situation with diabetes in Russia

According to the State Register of Diabetes, 3.5 million patients with diabetes are registered in Russia. However, according to experts, the actual morbidity figures are 3-4 times higher, and this situation is typical not only for our country. Most often, the reason lies in the elementary inattention to one’s health. The results of the general medical examination of the population of Russia 2006-2008 confirmed that the incidence of diabetes in our country continues to grow at an alarming rate. In half the cases, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus occurs only 5–7 years after the onset of the disease, therefore 30% of these patients already have various complications at the time of diagnosis (retinopathy, nephropathy, macroangiopathy, etc.) 2 .  

Diabetes is an extremely costly disease. In 2008, about 2.5 billion rubles were spent on the fight against diabetes from the federal budget. This is approximately 15% of the country’s total health budget. Moreover, more than 80% of these costs are spent on the complications of diabetes 3 . As for global spending, IDF estimates that by 2030 they will rise to $ 490 billion 4 . Moreover, the indirect costs associated with diabetes (loss of labor productivity due to temporary disability, disability, early retirement, premature death) are not at all measurable.

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