Diabetes Kills 10 to 12 People Every Day

The Portuguese Directorate-General of Health (DGS) chose Hospital Beatriz Ângelo (HBA) to present the 2017 Report of its National Priority Program to fight diabetes.

In the World Diabetes Day, celebrated on November 14, Graça Freitas, general-director of Health, Fernando Araújo, assistant secretary of state for Health, and the autarchic representatives from Loures, Bernardino Soares, and Matosinhos, Luísa Salgueiro, besides Luz Saúde CEO, Isabel Vaz, were at HBA to participate in the session for the presentation of the results of a study on diabetes in Portugal and the objectives of the DGS National Program for the next few years.

Cristina Valadas, endocrinology director at HBA and national coordinator of the program, revealed that, on average, between 10 to 12 people die every day in Portugal due to diabetes. The disease affects over a million people in Portugal (about 13% of the population), and it is estimated that 44% of people with diabetes have not yet been diagnosed.

In the presentation of the 2017 Report, the national coordinator said, furthermore, that mortality associated with the disease has been diminishing and that 2015 was the year with the lowest standardized mortality ratio: 19,4 deaths in 100 thousand people.

The goal of DGS is to raise to 30 thousand the number of new diagnoses until 2020, through early diagnosis, as well as to reduce in 5% early mortality due to diabetes and the development of diabetes in 30 thousand people at risk.

Diabetes “is an epidemic that must be fiercely fought”, for “it kills more than aids or malaria”, stressed Cristina Valadas, who added: “It can and must be fought quite early. Therefore, this is a battle to be fought not only by health authorities, but by society in general”, she argued.

In the same line of thought, the director-general of Health, Graça Freitas, reminded that diabetes is “a severe disease with great impact on the life of patients”, but that can be made “vulnerable”, if “there is good preventing work”. This, while the secretary of state, Fernando Araújo, promised more investment in the fight against the disease, namely through the availability of better glucose control devices and insulin injections for children and young people with diabetes.

Isabel Vaz, Luz Saúde CEO – the entity that runs Hospital Beatriz Ângelo in public/private partnership –, opened the ceremony acknowledging all the hospital’s professionals for the commitment and work developed in the area, highlighting the importance of prevention, also with the collaboration of other institutions in the community.

“We have a compromise towards health authorities and local municipal representatives, but mostly towards the population we serve, where our professionals make the difference”, she concluded.