People with type 2 diabetes are at twice the risk of developing heart problems.
People with type 2 diabetes face many challenges in maintaining their quality of life. Knowing the disease well, being aware of its risks, leading healthy lifestyles and not letting their guard down when monitoring its pathology, are some of the challenges faced by patients.
Furthermore, world figures require attention to be paid to this pathology, since 1 in 11 adults suffers from diabetes and in 2040, everything indicates that it will be 1 in 10, as indicated by the International Diabetes Federation.
With these reference figures, type 2 diabetes has been considered, until the arrival of COVID-19, as the pandemic of the 21st century. To this scenario, another particularly relevant aspect must be added: the relationship between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk.
Although the concern among patients with type 2 diabetes for developing a cardiovascular event has increased by 10% compared to 2016, only 2 out of 10 people claim to know the relationship between both pathologies, according to the Survey of Beliefs and Attitudes about Diabetes, carried out by the Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Diabetes Alliance, which promotes awareness about diabetes and cardiovascular complications.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart problems as people without diabetes, according to research published in the scientific journal The Lancet in 2010.
Between 50% and 80% of those with type 2 diabetes die from cardiovascular complications, such as myocardial infarction or stroke. Despite this, ignorance about the relationship between both pathologies is widely generalized.
To this, it must be added the fact that half of people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, as the IDF points out. We can be talking about the life expectancy of a 50-year-old person with type 2 diabetes being reduced by approximately five or six years.
The reasons for not knowing about whether or not they have diabetes are due to two aspects: One is the delay in the diagnosis of the disease, which means that it is not treated, and during this time it is negatively affecting the body.
Another reason is that more than 50% of patients do not maintain good enough control of diabetes and risk factors such as hypertension and dyslipidaemia to prevent complications, specifically cardiovascular ones.
Experts consider it essential that patients maintain adequate medical control of their type 2 diabetes to avoid the development of cardiovascular complications, since these are the main cause of death among this group.
A good prognosis depends, to a large extent, on the control of the disease, while the lack of self-care, on the contrary, it is associated with a greater risk of disability, a decrease in the quality of life and a higher mortality, as indicated by medical professionals.
Patients themselves have a lot to do. In this sense, diet and physical exercise help to control DM2 and thus prevent the appearance of heart problems.
Therefore, health professionals seek to warn the population about the cardiovascular problems associated with type 2 diabetes and raise awareness about how leading a healthy lifestyle can limit the harmful effects of the disease.
The three pillars that experts point to when trying to prevent and control the disease – healthy diet, physical exercise and adherence to treatment – must be added to diabetes education.
Measures need to be taken to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes and for those who do to know what they are facing from the beginning of the diagnosis.
Although the risk of contagion by coronavirus is not greater in people with diabetes, the complications derived from the infection can be more serious than in the rest of the population, experts point out. We must try to raise awareness to prevent these patients from getting infected.
The fact that people with diabetes are patients with a high risk of presenting complications forces us to be very demanding, not only with the measures to avoid contagions but also to keep their disease stabilized.
Elderly patients, at the present time, are very sensitized about the risk of COVID-19. We must take advantage of this scenario to involve them with regard to the problems of diabetes.
Health professionals emphasize taking advantage of the current situation to insist on greater control of diabetes, social education, healthy habits and the importance of recovering medical visits and scheduled examinations not carried out during the confinement period, whether of online or in person when the situation requires it.
Experts involved in treating patients with chronic disease must be aware of the risks and the importance of monitoring their disease.
Responsibility and self-care on the part of the patient is essential. Because receiving the necessary support from the people is decisive, following up after detection is an essential practice. This is an aspect that has become more important over the years.
The latest Survey of Beliefs and Attitudes about Diabetes highlights the growing role of family and friends in the control of the disease. A trend that is in line with medical recommendations, since the treatment of diabetes requires an added effort in the day-to-day life of the chronic patient. Hence, the knowledge of their family and friends about the disease represents an important advance in their quality of life.