Bogotá, November 14, 2022. Every November 14, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection commemorates World Diabetes Day with the international community, with the purpose of increasing public knowledge and awareness about the impact of this sickness.
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it is estimated that 62 million people live with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in the region of the Americas. Prevalence has increased more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
In Colombia, the High-Cost Account reports indicate that 3 out of 100 Colombians have diabetes mellitus. In 2021, 1,474,567 people have been diagnosed with diabetes, with a higher prevalence in Bogotá, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca.
Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in people 30-70 years old and the fifth leading cause of disability-adjusted life years in the country, considering it causes blindness, lower limb amputations, and kidney and heart damage, hence the importance of recognizing how to prevent it.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar) resulting from an insulin deficiency, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
It is diagnosed or confirmed when fasting blood sugar level is equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl. Likewise, it can also be diagnosed when a blood glucose value, after the intake of 75 g of glucose, is greater than 199 mg/dl or a value equal to or greater than 6.5% of glycated hemoglobin.
In the country, in general, women are the most affected by the disease, representing 59.54% of the total cases. However, it is estimated that the real number is much higher and one in 10 people suffers from this disease and/or glucose intolerance (ITG), which is a very high-risk condition for developing what is known as prediabetes. This is because the condition is unknown.
The deputy director of Non-Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health, Nubia Bautista, explained that the motto "Education to protect tomorrow" will promote making better decisions to maintain health, by practicing healthy lifestyles, prevention and control of risk factors, creation of healthy environments and adherence to the medical treatment.
She added that this pathology can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors such as: obesity, overweight and abdominal obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, dietary patterns, glucose regulation disorders among others.
"It is important to highlight that these factors are largely preventable and controllable. Consequently, it is necessary to strengthen the public's knowledge about encouraging healthy habits and modifying the associated risk factors," she explained.
In order to prevent the onset of diabetes and its complications, it is important to consume a variety of natural foods; include whole fruits and vegetables, preferably raw, at each meal; reduce the consumption of "packaged goods," fast food, carbonated and sugary drinks, avoid the consumption of animal fats and solid fats, such as margarine, butter and shortening.
Also important is to include nuts, seeds, and avocado in the diet, reduce the consumption of processed meats such as sausages, hams and bacon, avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages to reduce the risk of hyperglycemia, favor the consumption of poultry and fish over consumption of red meats such as beef.
Physical activity improves blood sugar control, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, contributes to weight loss or maintenance of a healthy weight and improves general well-being, therefore, the following is recommended:
The public is invited to find out their risk of suffering from this disease, as well as cardiovascular diseases, through the Conoce tu riesgo App (Know your risk), available in the different virtual stores.
Finally, the deputy director explained that in accordance with the current norm in relation to health promotion and prevention, "this Ministry has issued the guidelines for implementation, adoption and adaptation by the agents of the health system."