UNTIL RECENTLY, there have only been two dedicated public treatment facilities to serve the Algarve’s 15,000 sufferers of diabetes – the Barlavento and Faro Hospitals. But, from January of next year, a new specialised clinic will be operating in Faro, which should minimise the existing problem of insufficient means to respond to requirements.
The new public service facility, which will be known as Clínica de Diabetes e Doenças Metabólicas da Associação para o Estudo da Diabetes Mellitus e Apoio ao Diabético do Algarve (AEDMADA), clinic for diabetes and metabolic illnesses of the association for the study of diabetes mellitus and support for diabetics in the Algarve, is an important development because the worrying news is that, according to estimates, the number of diabetics in the region could double by 2025.
During the initial period, the clinic hopes to be able to offer 30 consultations per day, a number that could increase in the future. “We are going to have four or five doctors who will also work alongside ophthalmologists, something that is very important as diabetic retinopathy carries a risk of blindness and is one of the main problems faced by patients,” explained Dr Eurico Gomes, president of AEDMAADAA. He also confirmed that the clinic will be able to treat diabetic feet. “With the appropriate treatment, dozens of amputations due to this problem can be avoided every year.”
The clinic will be situated on the ground floor of a building in Faro’s Urbanização Santo António do Alto. The space, measuring 180sqm, has been provided by Faro Câmara and around 75,000 euros has already been spent on adapting it to host the clinic.
According to Dr. Gomes, around 70 per cent of cases are symptomatic and specialists emphasise the importance of early diagnosis through screening. There are more than 15,000 diabetics in the region, around 750 to 800 of which are Type I or, in other words, are dependent on insulin, the majority of which are children, young people and younger adults. The rest suffer from Type II, normally affecting people from 40 years upwards, particularly those leading a sedentary lifestyle and the obese.