Gabriela Allard
President
AMD
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Diabetes: Managing a Chronic Disease Through Prevention

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 12/29/2021 - 07:15

Q: How does AMD support the fight against diabetes in Mexico?

A: AMD continually generates content, courses and workshops to create health awareness. We also offer training and diploma courses on diabetes to primary doctors, who can then take what they learn to their communities to generate a positive impact. AMD’s goal is also to train patients and their families in the development of prevention skills. AMD recently developed a YouTube library anyone can consult to obtain reliable information regarding diabetes.

We also conduct small, field inquiries and provide renography and teeth cleaning. While offering these services, we analyze the prevalence of people unknowingly living with diabetes and identify symptoms, if any.

Q: What are the main difficulties to prevent diabetes within Mexico’s healthcare system?

A: The main issue with the system is that coverage is not the same for everyone. The basic schedule of essential drugs you receive depends on what health system you are affiliated to. This is a fragmented system that does not provide the patient with a broad coverage of drugs to choose from when looking for the best treatment.

Innovation and technology will provide better information and education to chronic patients, helping them avoid complications from the disease. However, access to innovative medicine and technology is limited in Mexico.

Q: What role does technology play in allowing diabetics to manage their disease?

A: Technology is key. It is not possible to effectively manage diabetes without technology. Auto monitoring has advanced tremendously in recent years, from simple glucometers to sophisticated equipment that connects to computers and smartphones to keep track of the patient’s blood sugar, sending the information directly to the doctor. This data allows physicians to offer the most personalized diagnoses and treatments.

Innovation continues to boost prevention. For example, new devices, such as flashless monitoring or intelligent sensors, can measure glucose 300 times a day just by scanning the patient. Data is important in getting the best possible therapy that includes dose adjustments and precise monitoring. Innovative medicine is key. Today, we have state-of-the-art drugs and insulin whose effects last longer and are better than those administered in the 1970s.

Q: How limited is access to the opportunities that technology and innovation offer?

A: Unfortunately, access to coverage depends on the patient or the healthcare system’s budget. Diabetics need the widest coverage possible; it is their right. To ensure that happens, every hospital in Mexico must provide standardized coverage.

Also, without access to innovative medicines and treatments, physicians are unable to recommend the best therapy for every patient, which could lead to future complications. On a cost-benefit basis, investing in early, quality treatments would be more efficient for the system. It is difficult to treat patients if we only have insulin from the 1970s on the basic list of essential medicines.

Q: How much does diabetes treatment cost and who covers it?

A: The cost of treatment is variable because it depends on the patient’s needs, insulin requirements, whether it is Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and the disease’s evolution. This is why broad coverage would make treatment more efficient.

For example, treatment of Type 1 diabetes fluctuates between MX$4,000 and MX$13,000 (US$200-$650) per month. For patients who need seven to 10 readings per day, this is usually paid out-of-pocket because no healthcare system provides that. Patients have to pay for it. New technologies could be equally as expensive as traditional methods but extracting blood from your finger 10 times a day is not the same as using a smartphone to get a reading 30 times a day. This is also important for the mental health of chronic patients.

Q: How does AMD collaborate with other stakeholders in the health industry?

A: AMD has created synergies and alliances with other stakeholders, such as laboratories, with which we create health days and training sessions to positively impact communities and increase awareness. Alliances benefit healthcare professionals and patients across Mexico.

Q: What are the next steps to reduce the prevalence of diabetes in Mexico?

A: Diabetes is a chronic disease that often cannot be avoided. However, we can work to provide treatment at the earliest stages. Lifestyle and exercise are important. Avoid smoking and alcohol, obesity and hypertension, all of which increase the possibility of a diabetes diagnosis. This is why we have to step back and modify our lifestyles and offer quality education.

Diagnosed patients should be educated to take responsibility for their own health. If they are being held accountable, patients will promote healthier lifestyles at home and within their communities.

 

The Mexican Diabetes Association (AMD) has been working since 1989 to help individuals control their diabetes and other conditions, such as metabolic syndrome.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst