In Peru, about two million Peruvians suffer from diabetes; and it is known that, for each patient in this situation, there are up to three people with prediabetes, of which only one has been diagnosed, as indicated by Dr. Jesús Rocca, endocrinologist at the Ricardo Palma Clinic and member of the Peruvian Society of Endocrinology.
According to the specialist, the lack of timely identification is due to the fact that prediabetes is an asymptomatic condition. “With the evolution of this condition, the risk of presenting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke increases, so it is important to carry out annual controls to know the levels of sugar in the blood and identify the person at high risk in a timely manner.”, he adds.
Rocca adds that in recent years the percentage of the population suffering from glucose disorders has increased, for example, between 60 and 80% of Peruvians have gained weight due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits, stress, self-medication during the pandemic or the consumption of drugs, such as corticosteroids; To this is added, a greater number of cases of prediabetes or diabetes, due to the direct effect that Covid-19 has by affecting the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas.
In this sense, Jesús Rocca then points out some of the main risk factors for the development of prediabetes:
- Weight gain. In Peru, 70% of adults are overweight or obese, these problems are one of the main causes for developing prediabetes and other conditions, such as high cholesterol and triglycerides, strokes, among others.
- Having the abdominal perimeter outside the normal ranges. According to studies conducted in the region, anyone with a waist circumference greater than 94 cm (male) or 90 cm (female) has a higher risk of developing diabetes or prediabetes, or suffering from cardiovascular disease.
- suffer from hypertension. Forty to 60% of people diagnosed with hypertension have insulin resistance and therefore also have diabetes or prediabetes.
- Suffer from fatty liver. A condition that occurs in approximately half of patients with diabetes. This condition is generated by excess fat that accumulates in the liver.
The endocrinologist indicates that prediabetes is reversible; however, this requires a change in lifestyle that involves following a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight, as well as being physically active, at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
“In follow-up studies of patients with prediabetes, for 10 to 11 years, it is evident that approximately 30% manage to normalize their glucose levels; the other 30% remain, and the remaining 40% progress to diabetes”, comments the specialist.
Jesús Rocca indicates that there are people with diabetes who make a significant change in their way of life and who manage to maintain glucose levels within normal ranges for several months. “These cases are called regression of diabetes, but it is important to know that this does not imply that they have been cured, but rather that they have this condition under control.”, he adds.