Most important discovery for Mexico and medicine

One of the most important discoveries for medicine -and especially for Mexicans- has been the insulin.

In Mexico, the population is especially susceptible to type 1 and 2 diabetes due to their genetic conditions. In fact, the country ranks sixth in the world in number of diabetic patients according to the International Diabetes Federation.

In addition, the diabetes mortality rate in 2020 was 11.95 people per 10,000 inhabitants, the highest figure in the last 10 years.

In an interview for Punto U, the professor of Endocrinology at the Faculty of Medicine of the UANL, Fernando Javier Lavalle González, recounted how the discovery of insulin came about.

The doctor explained that it all started at the University of Toronto, Canada. Doctors Frederick Grant Banting and James Macleod discovered that insulin was a hormone needed to maintain stable blood glucose levels.

The first inoculation of insulin of animal origin, carried out on January 11, 1922, did not significantly reduce Thompson’s blood glucose.

So Macleod turned to another researcher named James Collip, who devised a way to purify insulin from the animal pancreas using an alcoholic base.

So on January 22, 1922, with the improved formula, they produced a hormone ‘clean’ enough that it was finally able to reduce up to 120 units of glucose in Thompson’s blood.

Dr. Lavalle shared that people who are prone to contracting this disease, whether due to genetics or lifestyle habits, should try to gain a few years from the treatment of the condition when they are still pre-diabetic and do not yet depend on medications or insulin.

“Before they started at 50 years of age and lived another 20 or 30 years with the treatment and then with insulin. Now the problem is that they are suffering from it between 35 and 40 years of age”, commented the professor of endocrinology and level II researcher of the SNI.

Lavalle mentioned that the most important thing is to find or know who has prediabetes. The main candidates are all those people who are overweight. People with prediabetes have between 101 and 125 glucose units; the normal thing is to have between 70 and 100 units.

His recommendations are to lose seven kilos of weight, do 30 minutes of constant exercise for five days a week, “that prevents 60 percent of diabetes cases.”

“The idea is to have more years free of diabetes. It is not the same to have it at 65 years old than at 45 years old. They must do everything possible to identify it and treat it in time. These people have a better chance if they prevent the disease early,” he said.

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