Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
According to data from the International Diabetes Foundation, changing lifestyles of Filipinos have made the Philippines the 11 th producer of diabetes cases in the world.
During the launch of “Mission: Diabetes Early Control 365” program last month, Institute of the Study of Diabetes Foundation Inc. board chairman Araceli Panelo emphasized that aside from our rank as No. 11 among the top producers of diabetes worldwide, projections show we can break into the top 10 by 2039.
According to Panelo, there were 415 million diabetics worldwide in 2015 and the figure is expected to increase to 642 million in 2040. She added that 79 percent of the 2015 cases come from Southeast Asia as she underscored the need to curb the worrying trend due to its impact on affected families and the country's economy.
“It is imperative that we are able to detect diabetes so that we can prevent the complications that are staggering. Even rich countries would like to prevent diabetes because the costs of co-related complications are mind-boggling,” she said.
Aurora Macabullag, a board director at the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism stressed the need for prevention. “Prevention is knowing your risk and doing something about it,” she noted. “Most of the time, you will not feel anything even if your sugar level is high. It is a silent killer because it is not symptomatic early on in the disease. Complications are not prominent until you develop them in the heart, kidneys and eyes,” Macabullag added.
During the launch of the program led by health care professionals and pharmaceutical firms, the experts promoted the early detection of diabetes and lowering of the HbA1c which serves as an indicator of the average blood sugar level over a period of two to three months of those with Type 2 diabetes.
Whether the risk of diabetes comes from genetics or lifestyle, Filipinos who suspect they are vulnerable should consult with medical professionals so early steps such as regular monitoring and lifestyle changes can be taken to prevent it from negatively affecting their lives. When it comes to silent killers like diabetes, the key to prevention is awareness.*