Diabetes – one of our major health scourges


8 November 2019

Diabetes is one of our major health scourges. The disease is increasing in prevalence worldwide and an estimated 640 million people will be affected by 2040. In Sweden, more than half a million people have diabetes. Most of them suffer from type 2 diabetes. However, among Swedish children type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic disease – a disease for which there is currently no cure.

In the quest for a solution, researchers are attempting to tackle the underlying causes. Here are some examples:

Does dietary red and processed meat intake associate with type 2 diabetes risk?
Shafqat Ahmad, researcher at Uppsala University, will receive the Rising Star Award during the European diabetes conference EASD in Barcelona starting next week. In his work he hopes to identify if dietary meat intake associates with type 2 diabetes risk.

Women’s deep belly fat more strongly linked to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
A comprehensive study from Uppsala University, with over 325,000 participants, shows that deep belly fat is a major contributing risk factor for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study also shows that deep belly fat is a larger risk factor in women compared to men. Moreover, the scientists investigated how our genes affect the accumulation of fat and present a new, simpler method to estimate the amount of deep belly fat.

Uppsala University intends to take diabetes research to the next level
Diabetes is among our major public health issues, an endemic and thus far incurable disease that is gaining ground worldwide. In the quest for a cure, researchers are attempting to attack the disease’s underlying causes at a cellular level.

New discovery could lead to improved blood sugar level control
Many diabetes patients do not only have problems with their insulin, but also with the release of the hormone glucagon. Researchers at Uppsala University have now discovered a regulation mechanism which could provide an opportunity to improve blood glucose control in these patients. The research is published in the journal Diebetologia.

New studies highlight relevance of GABA for diabetes
Dynamic interactions between the nervous system, hormones and the immune system are normally on-going but in diabetes the balance is disturbed. The two studies published in EBioMedicine by an international research team from Uppsala University highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Facts about diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks and destroys our insulin-producing cells, has become twice as common in the last 30 years. The disease is associated with environmental factors, but as it has not been possible to identify with any certainty which factors are involved, no preventive measures are available.
  • Type 2 diabetes is considerably more common. The main problem in this case is inadequate secretion of insulin, a hormone that lowers blood glucose levels – a problem often linked to being overweight. The progress of the disease can be slowed by early diagnosis and lifestyle changes. However, at present there are inadequate resources to test everyone at risk.

Last modified: 2021-02-14