At the HPA Health Group, doctors, in addition to prescribing the best treatment possible, also teach patients very useful tips they can use in their daily lives to ensure well-being.

For example, simple things such “as teaching the patient, that when putting on their shoes, to always first confirm there is nothing inside their shoe”, explained Dr Ricardo Louro, Internal Medicine Specialist.

It may seem to be just a small detail but “if the patient has no feeling on the sole of his foot, walking all day with a foreign object, no matter how small, inside their shoe can cause complications. We have patients who walked around all day with a stone in their shoe, which they couldn’t feel, and at the end of the day they were surprised to discover a wound on their foot” this can be very serious for a diabetic.

Dr Ricardo Louro, besides being an Internal Medicine Specialist, is responsible for the Diabetes Consultations, an area that he has been working on since 2011 when he first joined the HPA Health Group.

As an Internist, he describes his daily life as very unpredictable and challenging. “I do follow-up on patients who are hospitalised and need to be regularly monitored by the Internal Medicine Team of which I am part and also coordinate”, refers Dr Louro.

Os far as the Out-Patients medical care is concerned, it is an area that he is deeply devoted to especially diabetes. “As far as Out-Patient care is concerned, diabetes is the area that I am most dedicated to”, he told The Portugal News.

“We have a Day Care Hospital with a dedicated nursing team, where a diabetes pre-consultation assessment of patients is carried out. We not only prescribe the necessary treatment, but also teach, for example, on the care that should be taken with the feet, with the eyes, with food, among others”, he said.

“In addition to the Day Care Hospital, at the HPA Health Group, we have many professionals also very much dedicated to diabetes, be it physical exercise, nutrition or other specialities that are a complement to this area, such as ophthalmology, neurology, general surgery, among others”, he added.

Multidisciplinary care is an added value that allows him, in all his medical activity as internist, to discuss cases with doctors of other specialities such as nutrition, physical activity, physiatrist, etc.

Patients’ accessibility to their doctor

At the HPA Health Group, patients have direct contact with their doctors, whenever they need to be consulted or to clarify doubts. “The patient easily has access, either through the hospital, during the day or directly with his doctor in case doubts need to be clarified or if the patients need additional information”, he said.

In person, but also remotely - the doctor talks about a “social click” regarding technologies. However, even before the pandemic, technology was already being used to make patients’ lives easier. The doctor explained that he is able to receive the patient’s test results online within the hospital. “I can find out if the patients are under control or not, as patients also send me this information”.

A diabetic patient usually visits his doctor four times a year. Nowadays, being out of the country on the day of the appointment is not an issue, because video consultations are here to stay. “If the patient is outside the country, he does not need to postpone his consultation”, he told The Portugal News.

“Some fears related to diabetes are myths”

Myths exist so do fears related to diabetes, “fortunately many of them are just myths”, said the doctor.

“There are many concerning insulin and diet for example. Myths can be deconstructed, but there are fears that are real. However, even these can be avoided, when the patient is diagnosed sooner and complies with the doctor's treatment and instructions”.

Usually, people’s main fears are linked to blindness, dialysis and lower limb amputations.

In addition to the more traditional treatment, the HPA Health Group has innovative techniques in the Algarve: A hyperbaric chamber and vascular surgery.

“Poor circulation and alteration of the nerves, lead to wounds, which sometimes can lead to ulcers in the lower limbs. In spite of being difficult to treat, a few sessions in the hyperbaric chamber will result in the most complete treatment of these ulcers, with a quicker healing capacity”, he highlighted.

Lastly, the conclusion is clear: diagnosis is the first and only step to take. In fact, “a person who is concerned about their health and who regularly comes to visit their doctor, has a better follow-up and, consequently, complications are detected earlier, permitting the medical team to act accordingly”, he concluded.