Can McDonalds Give You Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes: fast food as a curse

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Just a look at the development of the numbers makes it clear what a big problem we are dealing with here: According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 387 million people around the world are currently living with diabetes. In 2000 there were 150 million, in 2035 there will be more than 590 million patients. So diabetes has long since become an epidemic - a disease that is non-communicable, but which nonetheless spreads rapidly and apparently unchecked.

It mainly affects people with a low income and level of education. The IDF even says that at least 80 percent of the 4.9 million deaths from diabetes each year are in low-wage countries. And she blames several reasons for this: In addition to fast food, it is also the lack of access to up-to-date medical care.

A visit to the doctor, the supply of artificial insulin and other drugs is largely a matter of course in Western countries, but in third world countries it is a challenge. There are innumerable reports from people who are unable to get essential medication. Either for financial reasons or because they have no way of getting to the nearest doctor.

Great injustice

One could grow old with diabetes as well as healthy people. The prerequisite, however, is a good setting, i.e. a sugar content in the blood that should hardly be higher than that of healthy people and especially not over a long period of time (sober: 80 to 130 mg / dl).

With type 1 at least the risk of a late diagnosis is eliminated: This disease, which mostly children and adolescents develop because their immune system considers the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas to be foreign bodies and therefore destroys them, shows up relatively quickly through strong thirst and frequent urge to Urination and fatigue. Patients have to inject artificial insulin for life to survive.

95 percent of all diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes, which often remains undetected for a long time after it has occurred. Patients are often overweight and tend not to move much.

Pancreas weakens

In this case, the pancreas produces the vital hormone insulin, but the body cannot absorb it and convert carbohydrates and sugar into energy. Patients take medication, should diet and lose weight. If the sugar control is poor, long-term effects can occur because sugar deposits damage blood vessels and nerves. In the worst cases, heart attacks or strokes occur, which can also be fatal. Some patients lose their sight.

According to the World Health Organization, sub-Saharan Africa is particularly hard hit by such secondary diseases. This part of the continent has had two main problems in the past few decades: wars and AIDS. The non-communicable diseases such as diabetes received too little attention, writes Andre Renzaho from Monash University in Australia in the open access journal "Global Health Action".

Invasion of cheap food

The starting point of the public health crisis was the rapid urbanization and industrialization of this region. This was followed by a break with traditions: African cuisine was replaced by a western one that was high in carbohydrates and fat and (which is important in the poorer social classes) by cheap fast food.

As a result, more and more children are becoming obese and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which 50 years ago was the disease of the elderly and was therefore called adult-onset diabetes.

As has been known since the late 1990s, the increased incidence of diabetes can also be related to the treatment of HIV infection with the combination therapy HAART. The drugs make the stomach grow, blood lipids that cause illness will rise.

Renzaho reports in his analysis of a recent study: Men who received this therapy developed diabetes about four times as often as men in whose blood no antibodies against the HI virus were found.

Recognize the scope

Renzaho, who himself comes from the Congo, closes his paper with demands: The governments of the countries concerned should finally give diabetes a meaning similar to that of AIDS. Currently, there is not even current data on cases of illness. That being said, there should be rules for the fast food and beverage industry. The offer has multiplied in the past two to three decades.

The problem of adequate health care does not necessarily end for Africans when they leave the borders of their homeland behind them: The European Commission has repeatedly stated that Europe has to respond to the special needs of refugees from the region south of the Sahara - and not only from there - is not set.

Despite health insurance for people who have applied for asylum, too many would live without insurance cover and would not be able to afford expensive medication: In Austria alone, according to cautious estimates by the Diakonie, a total of 100,000 people live without insurance cover - including certainly Africans, some of them are diabetic. (Peter Illetschko, Cure, October 12, 2015)