OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Women and people over 60 years of age have the highest prevalence of diabetes in Cuba, with a rate of 200 individuals per thousand people. Photo: Humberto Lister 

Although the data from the 2018 Statistical Yearbook of Health, place diabetes as the eighth cause of death in Cuba, specialists insist on not losing sight of the fact that this condition constitutes an important risk factor for the diseases currently topping the list.

Scientific evidence has already shown the harmful relationship between diabetesand cardiovascular and vascular diseases. Suffice it to say that the risk of suffering the latter triples for people whose glucose levels fall out the normal range.

The preventions of the complications of diabetes were the focus of the recently concluded 1st International Diabetes Congress - which took place in Havana with the participation of more than 400 specialists from 20 nations -,as the director of the Institute National of Endocrinology Dr. Ileydis Iglesias Marichal said to Granma International newspapers.

Dr. Iglesias Marichal also emphasized the importance of controlling another silent epidemic such as obesity, since around 80% of people with this condition debut with diabetes throughout their lives. Similarly, smoking is a risk factor to develop the disease, the specialist warned.
The interviewee also called the attention about hidden kidney disease in diabetes. In Cuba - country with better glycemic control of its patients according to reports from the Pan-American Health Organization-, diabetes is the second cause for kidney disease. "A timely follow-up delays and avoids complications such as dialysis or kidney transplantation," she said.

The wake-up call extends to conditions such as retinopathy, the first cause of blindness, which is also linked to this chronic metabolic disease. Therefore, it is critical not only the glycemic control, but also the active screening of the eye fundus to detect any alteration.

Regarding amputation, another major complication of diabetes, Dr. Iglesias Marichal explained that prevention is aimed at detecting the risk of experiencing foot ulcer. «Although the rates of amputation have decreased by more than 70% in Cuba with the introduction of the Heberprot-p, it has also been essential the generalization of a project throughout the national territory to detect the foot at risk in this program, as well as the correction of orthopedic deformities, and to avoid the vascular or dermatological problems that can also cause the appearance of ulcers,” she concluded.

IN FIGURES

In Cuba:

747,466 diabetic people.

18 diabetic care centers.

19 diabetes and pregnancy services.

150 secondary care hospitals, the National Institute of Endocrinology and other specialized services.

100% of patients have access to glucometers.

12 hours of US blockade equals one year's worth of insulin for all patients who use this medication.