The fear of discrimination has caused many people in Latin America not to accept suffering from diabetes, a disease that, if it does not have adequate control, can complicate the health of patients, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, experts said Thursday.

“Diabetes generates discrimination and that is why many patients do not accept suffering from it because they can be denied employment, blamed, denied care or are not candidates for health insurance,” Fernando Lavalle said at a press conference.

The endocrinologist, academic, researcher and head of the Diabetes Clinic of the University Hospital of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, in Mexico, pointed out that this causes people not to have adequate glycemic control.

“Glycemic control can reduce the risk of complications, and just improving glycosylated hemoglobin levels by 1% – the average glucose in the last three months – helps lower these risks,” he said.

He recalled that diabetes affects 463 million people worldwide today, however, 374 million more have prediabetes, that is, glucose levels in the limits to develop the disease.

In Latin America, more than 45 million people have been diagnosed and, in Mexico alone, between 2012 and 2018 it went from 6 million people with diabetes to 8 million, although it is estimated that four million more are not diagnosed.

In addition, he said, in Latin America it is expected that by 2045 there will be, on average, an increase in the number of diabetics of 55%.

He warned that poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to various organs, but also, in the midst of the pandemic, living with this disease increases the possibility of becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and increases the risk of death.

He also expressed concern because it has been detected that some patients who did not have diabetes were infected with coronavirus and overcame the disease, and after their recovery they are diagnosed with diabetes.

“The challenge now will be to begin to detect what causes this and control these new patients,” he said.


Personalized care for patients with diabetes can prevent them from suffering complications from other risk conditions, such as a spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus or influenza, and help them maintain their quality of life by having their blood sugar levels in the blood under control.

María Elena Sañudo, medical director of Sanofi General Medicines in Mexico, said that it is necessary to sensitize patients about the importance of maintaining metabolic control and establishing a therapy that is adapted to their circumstances.

However, she accepted that in the midst of the pandemic, patients have decreased their adherence to treatment and have avoided consultations in hospitals.