About Diabetes

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What is diabetes?

Diabetes costs many people's lives every year and is one of the world's biggest health problems.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that can occur at any age and has a major impact on individuals' daily lives and life expectancy. In Sweden, about 500,000 people have diabetes.

Diabetes is characterised by high blood sugar levels due to insufficient production of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. Insulin can only be produced by a single cell type – the beta cell – which is found in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. The disease is chronic.

The two most common forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes and have different disease courses.

  • In type 1 diabetes, the body's own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, resulting in insulin deficiency. The body completely stops producing insulin, and the patient needs to administer it via an insulin pump or through injections for the rest of their lives.
  • In type 2 diabetes, there is an insensitivity to insulin in the body tissues coupled with an inadequate ability to increase insulin production. The effect is an incomplete uptake of sugar into the body's tissues with high blood sugar as a result. Type 2 diabetes often occurs along with high blood pressure, high blood fats and obesity.

The two types of diabetes need to be treated differently.

Why is it important to fight diabetes?

Today, more than 425 million people live with diabetes and the number is estimated to increase to 629 million by 2045. Diabetes often leads to several serious secondary diseases and premature death.

Secondary diseases lead to a reduced quality of life for individuals, a considerable burden on health care and large societal costs. Today, diabetes care accounts for seven per cent of the total health care budget in Sweden

How can we help fight diabetes?

Uppsala Diabetes Centre was established in 2020. Our ambition is that within ten years we will be a dynamic meeting place and an internationally leading knowledge forum. We take responsibility at the national and international level for diabetes through education, research, innovation and social dialogue.

The goal is that UDC contributes to reducing the number of people affected by the disease, improves treatments, minimises complications and contributes to society's limited resources being used optimally.

In Uppsala, there is a unique cross-sectoral expertise in diabetes research, all the way from the cellular level up to the societal level. The UDC gathers those competencies and provides synergetic effects in a matter that is very important and urgent to humanity.

The UDC will catalyse collaboration and cooperation between researchers from different disciplines in Uppsala so that ideas can be developed into action. This will be undertaken in close collaboration with patient associations, authorities, healthcare, researchers from other universities, business or innovation systems and in this manner bring the knowledge closer to those who need it.

Last modified: 2022-01-12