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37% of its impact could be reduced to patients

Diabetes is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness… According to the Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE), promoting diabetes education helps self-control and adherence to treatment, two key factors for patients .

Self-control and adherence to treatment, keys for diabetes patients

Control of diabetes. EFE/Luis Teixit

Diabetes is one chronic disease which is characterized by the presence of high levels of glucose in the blood and by its control Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE), in collaboration with Bayerlaunch the campaign “Diabetes and comorbidities”addressed to all patients.

Through it, they seek to promote the knowledge and involvement of people with diabetes in relation to the various complications associated with the disease, since its impact could be reduced to a 37%.

More frequent comorbidities associated with diabetes

Juan Francisco Perán, president of FEDEexplains: “Among the most frequent comorbidities associated with diabetes, there are cardiovascular disease, diabetic kidney disease, retinopathies, or depression, which have a huge impact on patients’ quality of life.”

The FEDE insists on the importance of reporting on the disorders or diseases resulting from diabetes and that patients most often suffer from, as well as warning of the main warning signs.

Diabetes patients health
“Diabetes and comorbidities” campaign. Image provided by FEDE

Cardiovascular disease

The risk of suffering a event or cardiovascular disease it increases from the moment of the diagnosis of diabetes.

The federation reflects that approximately, the 20% of patients develop one chronic cardiovascular diseasewhich is the main cause of death.

The heart failure it is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the one that occurs most often in these patients.

In the other hand, almost 40% of patients with atrial fibrillation have diabetes, which increases the risk of stroke or embolism by 5 to 7 times.

Warning signs:

  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea).
  • Difficulty sleeping (problems to breathe lying down or the need to get up suddenly due to lack of air).
  • Feeling tired.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles with possible weight gain (due to fluid accumulation).
  • Sudden weight gain (3kg in a week).
  • Urinate a lot at night.
  • If the blood pressure is above 130/80 mmHg.

Eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, controlling blood sugar, and adhering to anticoagulant treatment (especially in the case of patients with atrial fibrillation), are some key factors to prevent this pathology.


The retinopathy caused by diabetes constitutes the most common cause of blindnessand people with diabetes have twenty five times more risk of suffering from blindness than the population without diabetes.

According to the FEDE, one third of people with diabetes develop it diabetic retinopathy and of them, one 10% has risk of blindness. Also, around one 7% develops macular edema (an accumulation of fluid in the central area of ​​the retina), which affects your vision.

Warning signs:

  • Distorted vision.
  • Loss of central vision (usually manifests as a dark spot, blurred area, or deformed area in the center that prevents objects from being seen in detail).
  • Vision with spots of different fixed intensity.

Controlling blood sugar and going to the doctor for fundus examinations is important when it comes to preventing retinopathy.

Diabetes retinopathy patients
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness. EFE/Carlos García

Nephropathy or kidney disease

Almost the 35% of diabetes patients suffer chronic diabetic kidney diseasethis being the first cause of dialysis or kidney transplant.

As experts indicate, diabetic chronic kidney disease is associated with a increased mortality even in the initial moments, this risk increasing depending on the renal decline.

Warning signs:

  • Blood pressure above 130/80 mmHg.
  • Changes in the frequency and schedule of the urination (urine).
  • appearance of foamy or blood-tinged urine.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Poor glycemic control.
  • Swelling of the legs (edema).
  • Chest pain and/or difficulty breathing.

Control of blood pressure, hyperglycemia, lipids and hemoglobin is essential.


The association states that people with diabetes have between 2 and 3 times more chances to present depressionand only between the 25 and the 50% of patients suffering from it receive the necessary diagnosis and treatment.

It is important that when a person is diagnosed with diabetes, their emotional state is assessed, to know how they feel and what they need at that moment.

Warning signs:

  • Feeling sad or empty.
  • Lose interest in activities that used to make us happy.
  • Eating too much or not wanting to eat at all.
  • To own difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling very tired, irritable, hopeless, anxious or guilty.
  • To own general painss: headaches, colic or digestive problems.
  • Think about the possibility of suicide.

General recommendations

The experts emphasize the need to continue promoting initiatives of diabetes education and awareness for patients with diabetes and for their environment, which plays a fundamental role.

Diabetes patients prevention
EFE: Felipe Chacon

On the other hand, they recommend a series of general guidelines for diabetes self-management:

  1. Appropriate diabetes self-management/management: control glycemic status.
  2. Heart-healthy lifestyle habits: proper diet, physical exercise, no smoking.
  3. Cholesterol and blood pressure control.
  4. Avoid overweight/obesity.
  5. Self-examination of the feet: to prevent wounds and ulcerations.
  6. Use of cardio and nephroprotective anti-diabetic drugs.
  7. information both for patients and for the environment.
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