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Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases which are characterized by a chronically elevated blood sugar level. Most common are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which usually begins in childhood or adolescence, where the immune system attacks the body. As a result, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas die and lead to an absolute deficiency of the body’s hormone insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar levels rise, and patients become insulin-dependent and have to inject it.
About 90% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes, they are non-insulin-dependent, but in later stages can become insulin-dependent. Overweight, unhealthy nutrition and too little exercise increases the risk of disease and can lead to diabetes in genetically predisposed individuals. Type 2 diabetics have an elevated sugar level in the blood due to insulin resistance, meaning the body’s cells react less well to insulin. Insulin is responsible for transferring sugar molecules from the blood into the cells. If the insulin resistance is too high – the sugar accumulates in the blood vessels. Elevated blood sugar levels are mainly indicated by fatigue, lack of drive, increased thirst and urination, a tendency to catch infections and poorly healing wounds, as well as dry or itching skin. Acute complications are infections, severe high sugar level up to sugar coma. Complications arising in the large and small blood vessels and nervous system can lead to heart, eye and kidney disease, as well as diabetic foot syndrome.
In the case of hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones, which are energy suppliers for many body cells, thereby accelerating the metabolic processes in the body. The body has too much energy, which leads to typical symptoms like shaking, heart rhythm disturbances, high blood pressure, nervousness, inner restlessness, sleep disturbances, diarrhoea, muscle weakness and pain, sweating, weight and hair loss, menstrual disorders. The autonomy of the thyroid gland (independent, uncontrolled hormone production) can lead to an overactive thyroid gland, and very often a malfunction of the immune system, called Graves’ disease, with its typical symptoms: protruding eyeballs, rapid heartbeat and goitre.
If the thyroid gland produces too few hormones, this is called hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones are energy suppliers for many body cells, therefore a lack of these hormones slows down the metabolic processes in the body. Possible causes of hypothyroidism are Hashimoto thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland), removal of the thyroid gland or radiotherapy, iodine deficiency (needed for the formation of thyroid hormones), medication or drugs. The symptoms are typically rather unspecific and can be more or less pronounced: lack of drive, sleep disturbances, hair loss, constipation, weight gain, tiredness, general physical exhaustion, muscle weakness, depressive mood.