Only half of the three million people who suffer from diabetes in Argentina are aware they have the illness.
To raise awareness of the chronic disease that affects one out of 10 adults worldwide, the Argentine Federation of Cardiology and the Biochemical Foundation has organised the “100,000 corazones” campaign to coincide with World Diabetes Day this Wednesday.
"Diabetes is often discovered late and unfortunately it causes more than 1.5 million deaths per year in the world," said Ricardo López Santi, director of the campaign.
The disease, which globally affects more than 420 million people, manifests in a deficit of the production of insulin (type 1) or in an alteration that doesn’t allow the organism to process the insulin generated (type 2).
Serious consequences include blindness, kidney failure, amputation of the lower limb and cardiovascular diseases, which appear to be the most threatening, said Santi. Alterations of the arteries begin at an early stage, even before the diagnosis.
Data from the National Survey of Risk Factors indicates that the presence of diabetes in a young population can increase up to eight times the risk to contract a cardiovascular disease and up to seven the risk of sudden death.
Individuals overweight or obese are more likely to be exposed to risks. A waist circumference above 88 cm in a woman and 102 cm in a man generally indicates a risk of cardiovascular diseases, a possible indicator of diabetes.
"In our country, the fact that out of every ten people four are overweight and two are obese means that 60 percent of the population is at risk," said Santi.