Fretal: ‘We have to do something for children to stem the tide of diabetes’


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Free Valley

04/26/2022

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05:00

‘We have to do something for children to stem the tide of diabetes’

Mr. Dr. Matthias Wiek treats patients with diabetes at the Clinics Weißeritztal. It warns of a disease spreading like the plague.

Mr. Dr.  medical rope.  Matthias Wiek heads the diabetes outpatient clinic at the HELIOS Clinic in Fretal.

Mr. Dr. medical rope. Matthias Wiek heads the diabetes outpatient clinic at the HELIOS Clinic in Fretal.
© Karl-Ludwig Oberthür

The numbers are getting scarier: 8.5 million people in Germany may have type 2 diabetes, according to the German Diabetes Association at the end of 2021. In addition, there is a suspected number of unreported cases of about two million. 10.5 million people, or 13% of the population.

13 percent of people with the disease, also known as “senile diabetes” – Prof. Dr. D. Matthias Wyck can’t think of much anymore. He has devoted his entire career to the fight against diabetes, in recent years at the HELIOS Weissertstal Clinics.

Here he heads the Diabetic Foot Clinic and the Obesity Center in Saxony of the Weißeritztal Clinics. “There is a wave coming our way,” he warns in an interview.

Professor Dr. Weck In the lobby of the Freital Clinic there is an award from the department as a five star hotel.

Yes, that sounds like a holiday at first, right? No, seriously: For many years, the Federal Association of Diabetes Facilities has thought about how to document and map the quality of treatment. It comes to the quality standards of 150 good German diabetes facilities. These include university clinics, district hospitals as well as private diabetes clinics. We document each treatment based on clear criteria, this is included in the points system and at the end there is the total number of points. This is evaluated every year and then clinics are re-accredited.

And how are the Weisseritztal clinics?

From the start we always had so many points that we got the five stars. This makes us one of the best diabetes departments in Germany with excellent conditions and successful treatment.

Do patients look closely when they seek help?

This is the big question. However, the successes of treatment are fundamentally very important, not only to the individual patient, but to us as a society. Because diabetes is a rapidly increasing disease. There are regions in Germany where the proportion of diabetics is already 13 to 15 percent and it is increasing from year to year. We’ve blamed this on aging society for far too long, but it’s just not true. Age plays a role, but not only. It also affects more and more young people.

why?

Diabetes is a genetic condition, no doubt about it. But living conditions also play a role: lack of exercise, unhealthy nutrition, and alcohol, for example. Factors such as education and income also play a role in developing diabetes. But apart from that: the main theme is sugar consumption.

But this is all known. The media is full of health and nutrition advice. Why are there still more and more diabetics?

Because a lot of people ignore all of this. German politics is not in a position to do the right thing. I don’t know how many years the Diabetes Association has been bugging various agriculture and food ministers to finally introduce the sugar tax. Other European countries are far ahead of us, and Germany is far behind.

But it’s with sugar like smoking: everyone knows it’s unhealthy, but people still consume it.

I care about children. Parents, grandparents, and everyone around them program children to be sweet from an early age. Then there are the hidden sugars in ready meals, yogurt, sausages, and drinks. It is still advertised correctly. For example, if I see advertisements for fruit chewing gum – from a medical point of view, I will ban them immediately.

Do we need more enlightenment?

The foundation for future diabetics is laid in childhood. If we don’t finally address this, in 20-30 years we will have a huge wave of young diabetics. Then we’re no longer talking about 13 or 15 percent of the total population, but about 20 or 30. A catastrophe is looming now.

This means that we should avoid sugar.

It will be enough to significantly reduce sugar in food. I also like to have a piece of cake in the afternoon, and it is absolutely no problem if you eat a variety of foods and avoid dessert elsewhere. Everyone should keep in mind what diabetes means: It is a metabolic disease that provokes many secondary diseases. These include calcification of blood vessels, damage to the nervous system, eyes and kidneys, and even strokes or heart attacks. In particularly severe cases, there is a risk of amputation of a toe, foot or even a leg due to vasoconstriction.

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