CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–“At present, diabetes is actually the kind of pandemic that beats death compared to COVID–although COVID has a lot of mortality, but every minute, someone, somewhere, dies because of diabetes complications,” Dr. Jerome Basang said during Diabetes Awareness and Prevention webinar by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)-10, February 18.
Basang warned that diabetes does not develop overtime.
“It is insidious and onset–it is long term. It starts nga murag wala lang (It starts as if there’s nothing wrong), until a person gets to experience signs and symptoms. Diabetes is chronic, meaning it takes years to develop and it lasts a lifetime,” he explained.
The current data of diabetics worldwide estimates to 463 million, Western-Pacific (163 million), and about more than five million Filipinos for the past five years.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), diabetes is one of the 10 most common causes of morbidity and mortality.
Hyperglycemia or the constant elevation level of blood sugar in the body is the primary feature of diabetes, which results from defects in insulin secretions, insulin action, or both.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes has three types known as Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes.
Type 1 is commonly experienced by the young caused by congenital defects in terms of insulin production from birth, whereas gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, a diabetogenic state, where sugar levels progress due to the maternal effort to provide enough nutrition for the fetus. And the most common is Type 2 diabetes, with a bulk of the diabetes population experiences caused by genetics and environmental interplay.
“If you have the risk, like kung naay diabetic sa imong family (if someone in your family is diabetic), like parents, either or both, or relatives–genetically you have the predisposition to develop diabetes,” Basang warned.
In diagnosing Type 2 diabetes, three criterias are monitored, the HaB1c blood test that confirms a HaB1c result of 6.5% as diabetic, below 5.6 as normal, pre-diabetes (5.7% to 6.4%).
Pre-diabetes is a borderline that marks a person of having an already elated sugar level but does not exceed the cutoff for diabetes. This is the most crucial part to delay or reverse the onset of diabetes.
“Once a patient is already diabetic, there is no turning back in terms of delaying the onset. What we can do when diabetes is there is to control the sugar so that the patient will not suffer the complications of diabetes,” Basang said.
Aside from the HaB1c, Fasting Plasma Glucose is also monitored by measuring how much sugar is produced by the liver, and the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test that marks how much the pancreas is secreting insulin.
Risk factors of developing diabetes that Basang said people should be aware of includes one’s genetic disposition that commonly causes Type 2 diabetes, obesity which manifests peripheral insulin resistance where enough insulin is produced by the pancreas but cannot be utilized by the skeletal muscles.
Physical inactivity is also a risk, including ethnicity, history of gestational diabetes, or prediabetes, age, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels.
Symptoms that manifest diabetes’ development can be monitored by three P’s: polydipsia or increased thirst, polyuria or increased urination, and polyphagia. This also includes sudden weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurring of vision, slow-healing wound, ketones in urine, recurrence of infections in gums, vagina, or on skins.
In terms of complications, there are the acute complications or the diabetic emergencies such as the life threatening emergencies of diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.
There are also the long-term or major complications in microvascular parts of the body: diabetic retinopathy and diabetic cataract in the eyes, kidney failure, and neuropathy.
Macrovascular complications can be the occurence of stroke, heart-attack, and peripheral vascular diseases. “It’s high time that all of us take part in preventing and controlling the spread of diabetes–kung naa nay diabetes (if one is already diabetic), we want to prevent complications,” Basang said.
In treating and managing diabetes, pharmacologic treatments like oral medications and injectable medication are expected.
There are also non-pharmacological treatments where lifestyle modifications are urged in terms of food intake, physical activity, smoking cessation, and limit in alcohol beverages.
Adherence to medications and check-up, and early detection or screening are also encouraged. (RLT/PIA-10)