Diabetes is on the rise, with a million more ill people than 15 years ago in Italy. These data was collected in the 10th edition of the Italian Diabetes & Obesity Barometer Report, that was presented in Rome a few days ago.

Thanks to Doctor Cesare Berra, Supervisor of the Metabolic Diseases Section: Nephrology and Dialysis at Humanitas, we will understand why diabetes is on the rise and discover the latest innovations in its treatment.

“The trend is up. According to a predictive epidemiological study, we should expect an even greater increment in the next 25 years.

In Italy, there are 4 million diabetics, but there may be another million of undiagnosed diabetics. These people do not know they suffer from diabetes. Thus, they do not cure it, exposing themselves to a growing risk of complications”.


Diabetes is characterized by the presence of excessive glucose (sugar) levels in blood. An insufficient production of insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose levels in blood, or an inadequate functioning of insulin itself, may cause hyperglycemia.

The most known types of diabetes are two. Type-1 diabetes, with the absence of insulin secretion, and type-2 diabetes, that occures when the liver, muscles and adipose tissue are less sensitive to insulin and/or when the pancreas secretes less insulin.

What causes undiagnosed cases?

“Sometimes type-2 diabetes has no noticeable symptoms. As a result, you can’t easily detect it if you don’t get frequent routine examinations. In fact, in order to diagnose diabetes, a simple blood sugar level monitoring is sufficient. A fasting blood glucose higher than 126 mg/dl, in two different days, is enough to diagnose diabetes.

In other cases, patients sometimes get examinations, but do not go to the doctor to have their results read. They even may underestimate blood sugar levels that are only a bit higher than normal. So, they avoid going to a diabetologist.

Early diagnoses, however, are fundamental. They make it possible to treat this disease in its early stage, preventing the typical complications of diabetes”, Doctor Berra points out.

How to cure Diabetes

“The latest clinical studies show that diabetes has to be treated in the best possible way, at the earliest possible time. Especially in patients who are elderly or have concomitant diseases. The management of the chronicity of diabetes, with its long-term complications, is one of the great challenges of our time, with repercussions both on society and on the national health system, in economical and management terms”, Doctor Berra explains.

New Medications for Personalized Treatments

“Speaking about therapies, in the last ten years, progressively individualized medications have been put on the market. They can lower blood sugar levels, and also act on those defects that were recognized as the cause of this metabolic disease. In fact, a series of deficits in our body, causes hyperglycaemia.

These medications cost more than traditional ones. However, they are more effective, with less side effects, and they contribute to lessen the risk of complications. For example, they help lose weight, and they do not lead to hypoglycemia. A complication of diabetes that old-generation medications cause.

Humanitas is a pioneering center for the treatment of diabetes from a technological point of view too. We offer patients with type-1 diabetes the best technologies for the monitoring of blood sugar levels. Increasingly more reliable and less invasive. Patients with type-2 diabetes have access to the latest medications on the market, and researchers are working on clinical studies to develop new medications”, Doctor Berra concludes.