The mortality rate in patients with type 2 diabetes has increased, in the last year, by 43 percent due to the pandemic, since, during the pandemic, two percent more patients have died, going from a mortality of 5, 6 percent to eight percent, as revealed by the Primary Care physician at EAP Raval Sud (Barcelona), Josep Franch, who was the moderator of the talk ‘An A-hora por la diabetes: it’s time to Act’.
“The pandemic has played a very important role in the evolution of diabetes. It must be remembered that, in addition, disease is a factor with a worse prognosis of COVID-19. Diabetics have an average age of 75 years and the pandemic it has been primed with older patients, with diabetes, hypertension, etc “, lamented the doctor of Primary Care at CAP La Mina (Barcelona), Manel Mata.
This event, which was held in Barcelona, has been organized by the Foundation of the Network of Study Groups on Diabetes in Primary Care (redGDPS). Both professionals have recognized that COVID-19 has represented “a hard blow” for health and for the population and have confessed that, during the first months of the pandemic and until vaccination, diabetic patients suffered a halt in prevention and disease control.
For this reason, and thanks to a database of patients that allows the analysis of the quality of care standards, there are some indicators that, for Franch, “are very suggestive” because it facilitates knowing the situation of the disease, which facilitates knowing what impact the coronavirus has had.
Therefore, the doctor has revealed that one of these indicators is the screening of the diabetic foot, which is “a terrible complication of diabetes”, and during the pandemic, diagnosis and prevention has been reduced by 24 percent, since pre-pandemic levels stood at 73 percent, leading to 66 percent fewer patients having their feet checked.
“These figures are due to the absence of face-to-face appointments. A few years ago it was learned that diabetic patients were infected with measles in the waiting room, so from the first case of the virus it began to not be allowed to come in person and to have appointments by phone, “he assured.
In this sense, another of the indicators that professionals have been able to observe has been the retinopathy screening, which, before the pandemic, accounted for 81 percent of patients who had periodic fundus screening but this was reduced by the pandemic up to 58 percent.
“All the retinographies were stopped, which is a photograph of the eye, but you have to get very close to the patient and logically the risk was very high. Once the vaccination campaign began, the test has already been carried out,” he said. commented Manel Mata.
Likewise, the third important indicator that has been used to provide more information on the situation has been the percentage of patients with a glycosylated hemoglobin value of less than eight. Before the pandemic, in Catalonia, there were 70 percent of patients who were below that value but with the coronavirus it was reduced to 51 percent.
RETURN TO NORMALITY
Finally, Dr. Mata has insisted that patients should not forget that diabetes “is there”, so he has emphasized the importance of performing an analysis twice a year. “We must regain follow-up but without forgetting that the situation is not easy. Patients must empower themselves,” he said.
Along these lines, Josep Franch has encouraged health personnel to “approach and look for patients” in order to resume the prevention and evolution of the disease and has urged the establishment of new management models for visits and consultations.
“The real data is used to take the corresponding measures to improve the quality of life of patients. One measure that helps to achieve this is to reconnect with them. The patient must now participate more in decisions and there has to be more communication. We are on the right track but we will have to insist a lot on the need to look for patients again, “he concluded.