Deaths from type 2 diabeteshave increased globally so far this century, according to data from the World Health Organization. Part of the problem is the pathologies associated with the disease, such as renal and cardiovascular complications. With a tragic spice: according to a survey, most patients in the region are unaware of this potential damage and do not pay attention to it until it is often too late.
The magnitude of the concern convened this Tuesday in the city of Boston, United States, a group of media from all over Latin America convened to listen, among other issues related to health, this grim diagnosis. And in this way sensitize the population about the need to reverse it.
The survey was released within the framework of the recent authorization of a new drug, called finerenone, indicated precisely to protect patients from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). In Argentina it has already been approved by ANMAT and, according to the Bayer laboratory, which produces it, it will be available in the country during the second half of the year.
CKD, suffered by 2 out of 5 patients with diabetes, "is a widely underestimated common condition, which progresses silently and unpredictably, with many symptoms that do not manifest until an advanced stage of the disease," Bayer experts said during the presentation attended by Clarín.
The survey, which revealed the lack of knowledge of diabetics about this condition and the risk it entails, involved patients from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. Only half of respondents said they knew about cardiovascular complications and 60 percent had kidney complications.
On the other hand, the biggest concerns of the majority, according to the survey, are eye damage, known by 77 percent of those surveyed by the consultancy Ipsos, and amputation of limbs, present in 62 percent of the responses.
"The absence of symptoms lowers the patient's level of concern, which leads to long-term health damage and can lead to complications and death," said Eli Lakryc, vice president of medical for Bayer's Pharmaceutical Division in Brazil and Latin America.
One of the problems noted in the survey of 1,500 patients in April was that many do not get to see the nephrologist: 43 percent said no doctor suggested they see him; 13 percent responded that they suggested it but did not consult and 19 percent, that they consulted only once. Only 25 percent said they had already made several inquiries.
"It is necessary that the medical specialties that accompany the patient in the initial path of type 2 diabetes, such as clinicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists and geriatricians, have a holistic view of the condition so that there can be follow-up beyond their specialty," Lakryc added.
For her part, María Borentain, vice president and director of Cardiovascular and Renal Clinical Development of the company, said during the presentation that "there is a need for treatments that specifically prevent damage to the heart and kidneys to stop the vicious cycle."
Maria Borentain, one of the experts who presented in Boston the advances to treat the consequences of type 2 diabetes.
Despite the drama implied by these derivations of type 2 diabetes, in Argentina the incidence of the disease is lower than in the other countries surveyed: 6.1 percent of the population suffers from it, compared to 16.9 percent in Mexico; 10.5 percent from Brazil and 9.9 percent from Colombia.
Why does diabetes affect the kidneys? "Each kidney is made up of millions of tiny filters called nephrons. Over time, high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and nephrons, causing them to stop working as they should," says guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Knowing these silent damages produced by the disease allows patients to be medicated in time, just when the worst damage has not yet taken place. And in that way avoid reaching a scenario of dialysis or kidney transplant.
A great underdiagnosis
"Despite the high prevalence of chronic kidney disease, there is a large underdiagnosis. It has been seen that only 10 percent with stage 3 CKD is diagnosed in some countries. This means that 90 percent are not yet diagnosed at an advanced stage. And this has to do with the asymptomatic nature of the disease throughout that first stage, "said Gabriel Lijteroff, president of the Scientific Committee of the Argentine Federation of Diabetes.
Lijteroff considered that "there is a great interrelationship between diabetes, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, in which the three effectively enhance each other in a vicious circle." Can CKD be identified in early stages? "It is very difficult because the symptoms are very nonspecific, such as lack of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, edema or dry skin. So the doctor has to be very attentive and do all the biochemical diagnostic investigations to be able to address the issue very early."
The expert stressed the importance of adding new drugs such as finerenone to contain kidney and cardiological damage, but clarified that "lifestyle in people with diabetes – which has to do with a low-sodium eating plan, good metabolic control and regular physical activity – remains an invaluable tool for prevention. "
According to data from the Pan American Health Organization, some 62 million people in Latin America live with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). This number has tripled in the region since 1980 and is estimated to reach the 109 million mark by 2040.
This type of diabetes, also called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset, constitutes 90 percent of diabetes cases, a product of overweight, obesity and physical inactivity as the main risk factors.
During the presentation in Boston, the better situation that Argentina has in the region in terms of prevention and education on diabetes with respect to the rest of the countries involved in the survey was also highlighted, based on the fact that the incidence is 4 points below the regional prevalence average. which is 10 percent.
Boston. Special Envoy