Diabetes mellitus (DM), or more commonly known as diabetes, refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose, commonly called blood sugar. Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues.
Diabetes is a worldwide public health problem. In 2013, the number of diabetic adults reached a total of 380 million and currently, they are estimating that in 2035, the number will rise to over 592 million.
Health is Wealth. Sadly, most don’t give health much thought especially while they are young and strong. But as the years add on, they will start to appreciate that good health is the best wealth to have. Money comes and goes, you can’t hold on to that all your life. With good health, you can earn better and avoid additional unnecessary expenses.
Begin early to create the habit of a healthy lifestyle so you can avoid temptations, diseases and difficult sacrifices later on. Avoid diabetes which opens the door to major diseases. If you already have it, start managing and changing your bad habits now before it is too late. Ignoring Diabetes warnings and going on your merry eating ways may be the biggest regret you will have later on in life. Why? Because this may lead to unnecessary loss of limbs or aggravate a disease or even prevent healing of a health problem.
Consider this a wake up Call! Change should start now . . . first, understand diabetes and it’s complications, next re-assess your lifestyle and eating habits then adjust with psyching yourself to slowly eradicate sweet temptations. Mind over matter. Be INFORMED then START your healthy change . . . Take the 1-2-3 Challenge.
Diabetes in the Philippines is a growing health problem affecting the lives of 9.7% of the adult population in 2012. This number tends to double if we add the 12.5% of Filipinos at-risk of diabetes with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Combined, 1 out of every 5 Filipino adults or an estimated 11 million has either prediabetes or diabetes.
Filipinos are considered members of a high-risk ethnic population for the reason that the Filipino diet is accustomed to high levels of sugar content. The data shouldn’t come as a surprise for a carbohydrate-loading nation, whose staple meals include rice, bread, sweet potato, corn and other sugary food.
The Department of Health posted diabetes as the 8th top cause of disease-related death in the country in 2009. Cardiovascular diseases are the major cause of death accounting for approximately half of all diabetes fatalities.
According to the World Health Organization, a substantial proportion of newly referred cases of diabetes already have evidence of the micro-vascular complications of diabetes. Screening of newly-diagnosed diabetic patients in Manila demonstrated a high prevalence of diabetic complications and cardiovascular risk factors. WHO recommends that a screening program to detect diabetes and even pre-diabetes must be instituted.
Complications of Diabetes:
Diabetes has often been diagnosed in conjunction with, and worsens other comorbid conditions such as such as coronary artery and peripheral vascular disease, stroke, diabetic neuropathy, amputations, renal failure and blindness and leads to increased disability, reduced life expectancy and enormous health costs worldwide.2
Diabetes does not only affect one’s blood health, it may also affect other body parts:
• Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD). Diabetes can cause a heart problem which is the number one cause of death in the Philippines according to the Department of Health-Health Intelligence Service.6 People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes. There’s a big link between diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also called cardiovascular disease.
• Eye Complications. This disease is the leading cause of vision loss in adults of working age. 14% of people with diabetes have diabetic macular edema while 25% of people with diabetic macular edema will develop moderate vision loss.
• Kidney Disease (Nephropathy). Kidney disease occurs in approximately one third of diabetics. Kidney failure typically occurs after 20-30 years of diabetes and diabetes has become the most frequent condition in people with kidney failure.
• Nerve Damage (Neuropathy). Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy. About half of all people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. It is more common in those who have had the disease for a number of years and can lead to many kinds of problems.
• High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Caused when your blood moves through your vessels with too much force. Your heart has to work harder when blood pressure is high, and your risk for heart disease and diabetes goes up. High blood pressure raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems and kidney disease.
• Skin Complications. Some of these problems are skin conditions anyone can have, but people with diabetes get it easier. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly or only to people with diabetes.13
Once complications have been documented, treating hyperglycemia alone will not suffice. Complications from diabetes can be prevented only up to a certain point, beyond which these will progress.
Beyond screening, education of our high risk population regarding diabetic complications must be started also to encourage earlier medical consultation. Medical stakeholders must be encouraged to formulate new guidelines and encourage physicians to be more vigilant in diagnosing and managing diabetic Filipinos.