The health challenges of "the good life"”

Metabolic diseases are on the rise in Sweden and around the world. These health conditions, which include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure, all entail prolonged suffering and the risk of premature death.

Diabetes research at Karolinska Institutet focuses primarily on disorders of insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity. We conduct cutting-edge research into pancreatic and pancreatic islet (the insulin producing cells) transplantations for patients with diabetes. Another area in which we have been quite successful is research in obesity and bariatric surgery, with proven effects in national studies.

As a result of this research, healthcare services are better able to select the right patients for this particular intervention. As testimony to our leading role in this field, we have teamed up with Astra-Zeneca to establish the Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre (ICMC). Here, over thirty clinical and preclinical scientists are engaged in intensive medical, surgical and epidemiological research into cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure.

Anna Krook. professor of Integrative Cell Physiology, says "Many studies have shown that physical activity can prevent diabetes and reduce the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes. But what exactly happens in the body? How is the signalling system in the muscle cells affected? These are two of the many questions I want to answer".


The most widespread disease in Sweden is cardiovascular disease, which claims many lives every year. Some 28,000 people die annually from heart attacks, and 30,000 suffer strokes, half of them fatal.

Approximately 400,000 people have diabetes, a disease that affects the blood vessels and nerves, and over time, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and circulatory complications in the feet and eyes.