What do you know about type 2 diabetes?

Human beings live their relationship with health in permanent contradiction: on the one hand, they are capable of eradicating or controlling life-threatening diseases, sometimes in record time, and on the other, they spread epidemics by feeding them incorrect life habits. Type 2 diabetes is the main one of these epidemics. Eradicating it seems an unattainable goal and the strategies that have been put in place are aimed at preventing it to prevent its progression and to treat it earlier and better so that patients live with the disease under control and avoid its sequelae.

The number of patients in the world has almost tripled since the year 2000 and the disease already reaches 425 millions of people, according to the International Diabetes Federation. But the real number of affected is much higher because it is estimated that between a 20% and a 50 %, depending on the country, it takes years to be diagnosed, as pointed out by Fernando Gómez Peralta, head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit of the General Hospital of Segovia. “Scientific studies indicate that it is being diagnosed about seven years late.”

This delay in the early approach is capital because diabetes is accompanied by other problems that also undermine health. “In diagnosed people there is a high prevalence of obesity, in a 80% of cases, and hypertension, up to 75% of patients, that we could begin to treat more intensively if we detected it earlier ”, says Gómez Peralta.

If the diagnosis is simple (a blood test is enough), why does it take so long to detected? The explanation, according to specialists, is that there is a lack of a systematic screening program, similar to that which exists in other diseases. Domingo Orozco, family doctor and vice-rector for Research at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche, points out another reason: “It is not a pathology that in the first years gives important symptoms because the glycemic indices in this phase are not very high and that makes go unnoticed “. This secretive nature also favors that it is little known and the lack of information and myths proliferate about how to prevent it or about what foods and drinks patients can take and in what quantities.


The first step in managing the disease is learning about it. Check your level of knowledge with this test


What legend should I look for on the labels?

Suitable for diabetics

“Sugar free” or “Sugar free”

Recommended for diabetics

“Sugar free” or “ Sugar free ”indicate a sugar content of less than 0.5 g per 100 gr of product.

Next question ➔

Can I eat fruit?

Just apple and orange

No, it has a lot of sugar

Between two and four pieces a day

There are no forbidden fruits. The best option are fresh varieties rich in fiber or that can be consumed with skin: apple, pear, plum, apricot …

Next question ➔

How many Can I drink alcohol per day?

One drink


Three glasses

If you do not drink alcohol, do not incorporate it into your diet. If you do, minimize your consumption as much as possible.

Next question ➔

What key factor contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes?


Overweight / obesity


The risk of diabetes in people with obesity is three times higher than in the rest of the population.

Next question ➔

How much pasta or rice can I eat as a main dish?

100 grams

The minimum possible

414 grams, if it is a single dish

Better that they are whole because they provide more fiber and nutrients. They should never be taken with dinner.

Next question ➔

Can I eat cake?

On my birthday


It is forbidden

Always take small portions because sweets have a lot of carbohydrates.

Next question ➔

How much physical exercise should I do?

At least 30 minutes per day

Two ho over the weekend

Two hours a day

Walking, cycling, swimming or other activities of sustained effort are the most appropriate because they do not require a sudden consumption of glucose.

Next question ➔

What to look at on a label?

Carbohydrates per serving

Energy by 100 ml of product

Total proteins

You have to pay attention to this amount and not just sugar because all carbohydrates raise blood glucose.

Next question ➔

What do I do if I get hypoglycemia?

Hydrate me

Lie down and wait

Take 15 gr of carbohydrates

Take two or three sugar cubes or a sugary soda. If the person has lost consciousness, no attempt should be made to eat or drink anything.

Next question ➔

Where are the most serious sequelae of diabetes located?

In the cardiovascular system

In the eyes

In the lower extremities

Controlled diabetes reduces a 57% risk of heart attack, stroke or death due to cardiovascular causes.

See my final score ➔

You have to get up to speed Diabetes Day information on how to deal with it is decisive in the appearance of serious sequelae.

You’re close to getting it You are familiar with diabetes, but are missing some key concepts that can have a negative impact on the course of the disease.

You have it under control You would be an expert patient who could live with diabetes, avoiding the adverse effects associated with poor disease control.

correct answers

Reviewed by Domingo Orozco, family doctor and Vice Rector for Research of the Miguel Hernández de Elche University

➔ Do it again

Good control of diabetes brings great long-term benefits. But this is often neglected. “To avoid the emotional shock, it is sometimes said: it is just a little sugar. This approach has the disadvantage that the patient does not take the precautions that he should, ”says Domingo Orozco. Scientific studies show that weight reduction, physical activity, and adherence to therapy during the first years after diagnosis have an impact on health for up to two decades later. In fact, the life expectancy of a person with the well-controlled disease is practically the same as that of the rest of the population. According to Dr. Gómez Peralta, “the improvement in glycemic control maintained for five or ten to years translates into a reduction in both mortality and symptoms, especially cardiovascular disease. ”

As important as detecting diabetes as soon as possible, is treating it better. Since the discovery of insulin ago 200 years the treatment has changed radically, especially in the last five years. Specialists insist that the key to keeping it at bay is to change your lifestyle. “In this we have made great progress because now a personalized nutritional approach can be made and also prescribe a physical activity adapted to each patient”, explains Gómez Peralta. But, in the opinion of the specialist at the General Hospital of Segovia, the most relevant recent qualitative leap has occurred in pharmacological treatments. “They are more efficient and safer. In addition to helping to control glucose levels, they provide notable advantages in weight reduction and blood pressure, the two most frequent comorbidities in patients with diabetes before diagnosis. ”

Dieta, ejercicio físico y adherencia terapéutica forman un trípode en el abordaje de la enfermedad.
Diet, physical exercise and therapeutic adherence form a tripod in the approach to the disease. iStockphoto

In this problem chronic health, symptoms often do not appear, and that does not help to follow the prescribed pattern. According to scientific societies, half of the patients do not take their medication correctly. One of the reasons is that the treatment is preventive and the importance of taking the medicine is in danger of being blurred. If someone has a headache, they take the pain reliever and the pain goes away. The benefit is palpable. However, explains Domingo Orozco, “when there are no symptoms, everything depends on the health education of the patient, that he has good training, knows what he takes and what benefits it has”. With the new drugs, this danger is less because, “by having an additional benefit in weight reduction, the patient is aware of the benefit, which helps therapeutic adherence,” says the vice-rector of the Miguel Hernández University.

Diet, physical exercise and therapeutic adherence form a tripod in the approach to the disease. The benefits multiply when all three work and the tripod wobbles if one fails. For optimal control, in addition to the help of the professionals who treat them, the patient now has technological tools (mobile applications, among others) very useful on a day-to-day basis. For Domingo Orozco, they have represented a fundamental advance. Far from dehumanizing care and distancing the patient from the professionals, “they have made it possible to improve communication and maintain it for longer with the patient and his family.” Telemedicine helps to resolve doubts, facilitates problem solving “and motivates the patient and their environment for self-care.”

The objective of the specialists is to integrate people with diabetes as much as possible into making decisions about the disease that will accompany them for life. After all, health is their main asset and those most interested in managing it should be themselves. Hence, patient associations play a fundamental role in health education. Many of the workshops they offer are taught by patients with communication skills and a willingness to share their experience in managing the disease. They are known as “expert patients” or “active patients.” Part of the success in preventing and controlling the diabetes pandemic depends on them. Fernando Gómez Peralta considers that his contribution is so important that “they should be included in the development of clinical guidelines and in the design of healthcare processes.”

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