Status: 02.10.2023, 05:51 a.m.
By: Michelle Mantey
4 out of 10 diabetes cases go undetected, according to a study. The first signs are often attributed to other diseases. (Symbolic image) © Westend61/IMAGO
A study shows that diabetes often goes undetected. This can have devastating consequences for health. This is how you recognize the first signs.
Frankfurt – It is not always possible to detect a disease immediately on the basis of its symptoms. Often, the individual signs are too unspecific or could indicate several diseases. For example, many diabetes patients suffer from fatigue and listlessness, which means that many sufferers often only think of a vitamin deficiency and not directly of diabetes. A study by the Global Diabetes Industry now shows that in four out of ten cases, diabetes is not detected.
Diabetes mellitus is often colloquially referred to as diabetes and is a metabolic disease. This leads to high blood sugar levels because the body cannot produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. In Germany, according to the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), 7.2 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 79 suffer from diabetes. The data for the Global Diabetes Industry study were evaluated worldwide and so there are clear differences.
7 million deaths worldwide are due to diabetes – disease is often not recognized
While 41 percent of diabetes goes undiagnosed in Europe, the figure is 60 percent in Africa. In Southeast Asia, too, the probability of discovering a diabetes diagnosis is 57 percent, and in the Western Pacific region it is 56 percent. "Limited healthcare infrastructure, including a shortage of healthcare professionals and diagnostic equipment, can hinder early detection of diabetes," explains researcher Sasha Korogodsk.
In 2021, almost 7 million deaths worldwide were attributed to diabetes, according to the study. If diabetes is not detected, it can have devastating consequences for those affected.
According to MSD Manuals, diabetes can lead to damage to the nerves and impaired sense of touch. Damage to the blood vessels increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Chronic kidney disease and loss of vision can also be the result. Once the disease has been diagnosed, patients receive medical care at regular intervals and are provided with medication to adjust their blood sugar and detect possible secondary diseases at an early stage.
Recognizing diabetes: The disease could be behind these symptoms
Basically, there are two types of diabetes that, according to the German Diabetes Aid, can have different symptoms:
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|Type 2 diabetes mellitus||Type 1 diabetes mellitus|
|Infections (e.g. fungal infections)||frequent urination|
|Tiredness, listlessness||Fatigue, feeling of weakness|
|rather rare: feeling of thirst, frequent urination||Weight loss|
|Deterioration in performance|
In addition, the symptoms gesundheitsinformationen.de also differ according to the blood sugar level:
|High blood sugar levels||Low blood sugar levels|
|strong feeling of thirst||Headaches, difficulty concentrating/confusion|
|Vertigo||cold sweat, tremors, nervousness and feelings of anxiety|
|Fatigue and listlessness||rapid pulse|
|frequent urination||pale complexion|
In most cases, type 2 diabetes is only detected when a diabetic secondary disease is already present, such as a heart attack or stroke. According to BZgA figures, about 90 to 95 percent of patients have type 2 diabetes. A major risk factor in this type is obesity. A healthy diet and sufficient exercise are therefore important to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body's own insulin production and destroys important cells responsible for the production of insulin. Often this type is detected in childhood and adolescence. According to the German Diabetes Aid, 32,000 children and adolescents in Germany are affected and 372,000 people are affected in total.
Cardiac insufficiency is also often detected late. This is how they recognize the first symptoms. (mima)