Diabetes no longer has to take away 12 years of your life. “We have dream drugs, but drugs are not everything.”

Diabetes no longer has to take away 12 years of your life.  "We have dream drugs, but drugs are not everything."

Diabetes is a disease in which progress in medicine is very visible, the treatment now is completely different than a dozen or so years ago. We have dream drugs that prevent the catastrophic complications of this disease. However, patient education is also necessary, said Anna Śliwińska from the Polish Diabetes Association during the opening panel of the Wprost Health Visionaries conference.

Diabetes is one of the most dangerous lifestyle diseases due to its numerous complications. It can shorten life by 10-14 years, lead to heart attack, stroke, loss of vision and diabetic foot syndrome. Today, however, there is treatment available that can stop the progression of the disease.

– We have drugs that prevent cardiovascular and nephrological complications that make patients disabled. It’s good that there is wider reimbursement for these drugs – that’s what we fought for as an community. I hope that with this access to modern medicines it will be even better, emphasized Anna Śliwińska.

However, even the best pharmacotherapy is not enough. It is also necessary to educate the patient, follow the doctor’s recommendations and change his lifestyle. – More than 100 years ago, when insulin was discovered, doctors knew that only an educated patient would be able to live with diabetes as long as possible. Pharmacotherapy is like a modern car, and education is like a driving license. We won’t go anywhere without a car, but a driver without a driving license will not know how to drive, said Anna Śliwińska.

In the case of diabetes, a healthy lifestyle is also important – it is the basis: proper nutrition, physical activity, but also the patient’s awareness of how not only meals, but also physical activity affect blood sugar levels.

It is also extremely important to make an early diagnosis, because without diagnosis and treatment, complications of the disease will develop in secret. – Late diagnosis of diabetes will shorten life. Thanks to the diagnosis, effective treatment can be initiated at earlier stages: there is a chance that the patient can live a long and healthy life, despite diabetes, emphasized Anna Śliwińska.

She also noted that the Polish Diabetes Association is involved in conducting educational campaigns addressed both to diabetics and their families, as well as to the entire society. Materials for patients come in a variety of forms to attract their attention. – We also educate directly: we have 330 association branches to provide direct education, especially where it is needed most. We also organize nationwide conferences. The effects are really visible, our patients are really very well educated, which is what doctors also tell us – noted Anna Śliwińska.

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