Over 3.5 million people in Italy suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, while 1 in 3 Italians are diabetic without knowing it. This is recalled by the Diabetes Italy association, on the occasion of World Diabetes Day held every year on November 14th to raise awareness of the need for prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of a disease whose complications can be severe.
On a global level, one can without exaggeration speak of a pandemic if one considers that more? of 425 million people in the world are affected by diabetes and what this figure is? destined to increase over the next few years as a result not only of the increase in population and the average life span but also in the lack of physical exercise and poor nutrition. According to IDF projections – International Diabetes Federation, in 2030 there will be 522 million diabetics if effective prevention is not implemented. In fact, up to 80% of cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
What is diabetes and what are the complications
Diabetes and? a degenerative disease characterized by the presence of high levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia) due to an altered mechanism of insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows the use of glucose as an energy source. This condition may depend on reduced insulin production or the body’s reduced ability to use the insulin it produces. High blood glucose levels, if not corrected with adequate therapy, may over time favor the appearance of chronic complications of the disease, such as retinopathies, nephropathies, cardiovascular diseases, neuropathies, diabetic foot, which represent the main share of disability and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Metformin reduced the absorption of Vitamin B12 and its consequences “In Italy, about 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes take metformin, a basic drug in the treatment of this type of diabetes, as confirmed by the latest SID-AMD guidelines of 2018”, explains Enzo Bonora, Full Professor of Endocrinology, University of Verona and Director of the UOC of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism Diseases, AOUI of Verona. Metformin, in fact, in addition to lowering blood sugar levels, without damaging the kidneys, reduces cardiovascular risk, as recent studies show. However, other authoritative works show that metformin treatment reduces the intestinal absorption of Vitamin B12 (BMJ 2010; 340: c2181). Vitamin B12 is fundamental for health and for the proper functioning of the nervous system; the metformin-induced Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead the patient to develop diabetic neuropathy or neurological problems (To learn more about these issues: http://www.portalediabete.org/il-diabete-tipo-2/complicanze/3652-diabete-tipo -2-can-link-between-deficit-to-vitamin-b12-induced-by-metformin-and-diabetic-neuropathy).
Hence it appears that it is fundamental in the follow-up of diabetes, to constantly monitor the values of B12 to undertake a timely integration in the event that it becomes necessary to report the values to the correct levels.
Help can be offered by commercially available polyvitamin formulations which include group B vitamins in balanced doses and which are sold as coated or effervescent tablets.