The call of health professionals in Puerto Rico to educate on diabetes control

Given the increase in the prevalence of diabetic patients, leading specialists in the country came together to make visible the importance of treating this chronic disease.

Dr. José García Mateo, past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology; Dr. Leticia Hernández, president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology; Dr. Margarita Ramírez, director of the endocrinology section of the Medical Sciences Campus; Dr. Sheila Pérez Colón, pediatric endocrinologist at Doctors Center Clinic; lcda. Luz Pérez, nutritionist specialized in Diabetes and attached to Metro Pavia Clinic and Dr. Mariely Sierra, endocrinologist and secretary of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology. Photo: Medicine and Public Health Magazine.

In the month of awareness about the diabetesspecialists in endocrinology and health professionals from Puerto Rico participated in an educational meeting led by the Journal of Medicine and Public Health, where they called for prioritizing care for this condition on the Island and promoting alternatives to prevent the increase in its prevalence .

Impact of diabetes in Puerto Rico

From the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, the specialists provided information on the impact of this disease, which affects 16% of the Puerto Rican population, being the main risk factors for diabetes type 2 specifically, obesity, overweight and harmful habits for health.

According to Dr. Mariely Sierra, an endocrinologist, “the statistics in Puerto Rico are quite alarming. The Department of Health estimated that by 2020 15.8% of people diagnosed with diabetesthat is, more than 400,000 patients, this means that 2 out of 13 people may have the condition on the Island”.

It is worth mentioning that “in many cases, and in clear difference with the diabetes type 1, the diabetes type 2 can be prevented if healthy eating habits are maintained and combined with moderate physical activity”, indicated Dr. Isabel Arroyo, an endocrinologist.

Renal and vascular complications in diabetic patients

For his part, Dr. José García Mateo, endocrinologist and past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology, explained during the event the main relationship that exists between diabetes with cardiovascular and renal complications.

The expert mentioned that data from organizations such as the American Society of Diabetesamong others, agree that “patients with diabeteshave a risk factor for cardiovascular complications of at least 90%”, adding that “half of these patients have three or more risks”.

“Approximately 40% of patients with diabetes they will have kidney diseases that increase cardiovascular risk and two out of three patients die of a cardiovascular event if they live with diabetes”, stated the endocrinologist.

In addition to that, the specialists agreed on the importance of the population being oriented about the risk of diabetesits main symptoms, complications, triggering factors, care for diagnosed patients and lifestyles that can promote the development of the disease.

Diabetes and its association with thyroid conditions

In relation to the diabetes and thyroid problems, Dr. Sierra, pointed out that, “in Puerto Rico, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism problems, specifically hypothyroidism, have extremely high statistics and are related to genetic factors that are more common in women.”

On this, Dr. Leticia Hernández, endocrinologist and president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology, indicated that “it is estimated that people with diabetes Type 2 are at higher risk of developing hypothyroidism. This means that I have to do an initial clinical evaluation that includes a history of the patient’s symptoms, to see if it corresponds to a thyroid condition.

Therapeutic alternatives for diabetes

The approach to advances in treatments for diabetes It was also one of the topics debated by specialists. In this regard, Dr. Margarita Ramírez, director of the endocrinology section of the Medical Sciences Campus, pointed out that “currently there are more than 6 classes of drugs for diabetes that have emerged in recent decades, hence the importance of individualizing therapies”.

“We have to give the best therapies to our patients. It is important to use other drugs that would be GLP-1 analogues, most of which are injectable, and also SGLT-2 inhibitors, whose mechanism of action is to eliminate sugar in the urine. Both drugs cause significant weight loss apart from glucose control and right now they have indications that they reduce cardiovascular and renal risk”, reported the specialist.

Finally, Dr. Sheila Pérez Colón, pediatric endocrinologist, provided guidance on the diabetes child, its main symptoms, current studies and treatments, and Lcda. Luz Pérez, dietitian nutritionist, shared recommendations on healthy eating to prevent the condition and accompany the treatment of diagnosed patients.

See the full program here.

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