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Diabetes is a widespread chronic disease with elevated and fluctuating levels of glucose in the blood that increases rapidly in the whole world. More than 371 million people in the world have diabetes and this figure is expected to rise to 552 million by 2030.

Diabetes is conventionally diagnosed as type 1 or type 2 diabetes, where type 1 diabetes, which primarily affects children, is an autoimmune form of the disease, meaning that the body’s own immune system destroys the beta cells in the body that produce insulin and regulate blood sugar. There is currently no treatment on the market addressing the autoimmune process that causes type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by decreased insulin sensitivity and is strongly linked to overweight and age. In fact, also approximately 10 percent of all type 2 diabetes patients suffer from an autoimmune attack towards their beta cells and are characterized as having Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA). The autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing cells in type 1 diabetes and LADA results in an insulin deficiency which needs to be treated with insulin therapy for life.

The occurrence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing and younger age groups are being affected.

Complications related to diabetes are currently among the most common causes of death in many countries.It is estimated that 4.8 million people died as a result of diabetes 2012 and the global costs for the disease, including treatment of complications, was estimated to 471 billion US dollar 2011. People with diabetes often experience serious complications resulting in considerable suffering and premature death. Moreover the disease levies extensive costs on society every year for health care and absences from work.

There are several types of diabetes. The three most common are type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes and LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults). What both type 1 diabetes and LADA have in common is that the progress of both diseases causes the patient to need external insulin via injections or an insulin pump, since the patient's own insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune attack.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, is by far the most common form of diabetes and is rapidly increasing. In contrast to the other types, type 2 diabetes is caused by impaired insulin sensitivity and is primarily related to age and lifestyle. Today more and more young people are developing type 2 diabetes.

Fast facts
  • Three types of diabetes
  • Serious complications
  • Diabetes is increasing globally
  • Substantial costs for society