Diabetes, which is a major health challenge, is a metabolic disease characterized by a chronic rise of the glycemia (blood sugar level).
Diabetes is a consequence of the insufficiency of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar level, either because its production by the pancreas is insufficient in the case of type 1 diabetes, or because, initially, its action becomes less effective during type 2 diabetes. Insulin allows glucose to enter the body’s cells and to provide them with the required energy.
Three major types of diabetes can be distinguished:
- Type 1 diabetes: it generally appears at an early age and represents 10% of diabetes cases. Daily injections of insulin are necessary to regulate the blood glucose level because the pancreas does not produce enough or no insuline due to an autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic cells that produce it.
- Type 2 diabetes: it usually begins after age 40 and represents 90% of diabetes cases. Insulin, whose initial production is retained, is not effective due to insulin resistance, often linked to obesity, mainly located in the abdominal area. The rise in blood sugar level can be controlled by physical activity and appropriate dietetics, nevertheless, oral treatments and even insulin are often needed.
- Gestational diabetes: occurs in pregnant women, by an increase in blood sugar level, which can lead to complications for the mother and the child. High blood sugar levels disappear immediately after childbirth, nevertheless, gestational diabetes remains a risk of developing type 2 diabetes later.