In the Western Pacific region, the Philippines is considered to be one of the “hot spots” of diabetes. It has been ranked fifth – after China, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand– in the numbers of diabetics.
Everyone must have a lifestyle change in order to prevent this kind of disease. Enough public information would be necessary to detect its symptoms earlier, therefore, controlling the serious damages it might cause to the vital organs like the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys, liver, and nerves.
Based on the IDF (International Diabetes Federation) Atlas, when the population was 65 million, there were already about 3.9 million diabetic Filipinos. And now with the present population of over 100 million, health experts have estimated that our country may have more than 5 million diagnosed diabetics.
That’s why; it’s not surprising to know that nowadays a lot of people’s money is being spent on dialysis – particularly those patients with end-stage kidney disease. What’s more depressing among the part of diabetics is that they never realize that they are diabetic until the time that they are rushed to hospitals for having serious health complications like kidney failure, gangrenous foot, stroke or heart attack. PhilHealth spent around P8 billion last year in order to assist those patients undertaking dialysis. Majority of those patients were diabetics.
The best way to avoid this money draining, time-consuming treatments as well as the possibility of arising of more complicated diseases, is by preventing diabetes and diagnosing it early as possible. Treatments that might as well be prevented are dialysis, undergoing heart bypass, having legs amputated due to gangrene and possibility of going blind.
The same IDF statistics show that around 50,000 diabetic Filipinos died that same year having diabetes-related complications like kidney and heart failure, stroke and heart attack. If we are not going to act early, by the year 2045 this alarming trend would possibly make the frequency of diabetes to rise to 20 percent. An estimated number of more than 100,000 Filipinos would be suffering and dying as well every year because of the complications it would bring.
According to Dr. Augusto Litonjua, Head of the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation, Inc. (PCDEF) and is considered to be the Father of Philippine Endocrinology:
“If we act now, we may be able to check this rise in the diabetic population, and education is the answer.”
He further stresses that diabetes can be prevented,
“and this is what awareness of the disease is for.”
Diabetes: Not A Death Sentence
Having diabetes is not having a death sentence. With proper information and education, patients would realize that though they were diagnosed with diabetes, it doesn’t mean that they will already be dying. This disease can be adequately controlled to prevent more complications. Compared to non-diabetics, patients can still live normal and healthy lives.
If you don’t know whether you are diabetic or not, just take a simple blood test. Everyone from 40 years old and older is recommended to undergo screening for diabetes. However, it should be done at a younger age if you have history on the following:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Overweight or obesity
- Diabetes during pregnancy or if with babies weighing 8 lbs or heavier
- Waist circumference more than 80 cm (31.5 inches) in females and more than 90 cm (35.5 inches) in males
- Borderline or pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance)
- First degree relative to Type 2 diabetes,
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Hypertension (BP >140/90 mm Hg)
- Previous history of any vascular diseases including stroke
- Low good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) in the blood
- Disease of the heart and arteries
- Schizophrenia (mental disorder)
- History of low and high blood triglycerides