Diabetes in the Philippines – A Worrying Growth Rate

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Diabetes is increasing at a worrying rate in Asian countries, including the Philippines. The incidence and prevalence of Type 2 diabetes continue to rise with a matching upward trend in the prevalence of pre-diabetes. Are you on your way to being part of this statistic?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that impairs the body’s ability to process blood sugar. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it produces.

Most of the food that you eat is broken down into glucose (sugar) and released into the bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells to be used as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it produces as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or when cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can lead to serious health complications, such as vision loss, heart disease, and kidney disease.

There are three main types of diabetes:

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  • Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly, and may include increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and mood changes. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will have to take insulin every day.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood glucose at normal levels. It develops over many years and is typically diagnosed in adults. You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s essential to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk.
  • Gestational Diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have no history of diabetes. Usually, it goes away after your baby is born but it increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes Statistics in the Philippines

According to DOH Philippines diabetes statistics, diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death among Filipinos. Also, approximately 14.2% of the population in the Philippines already live with the risk of pre-diabetes or have high blood glucose levels.

The prevalence of diabetes in the Philippines is increasing. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over 3,993,300 diabetes cases among adults in the Philippines.

Rapid urbanization combined with a sedentary lifestyle and increasing dependence of electronic gadgets significantly contributed to this epidemic.

Diabetes care in the Philippines is challenged with respect to government support, economics, and resources.  

The national insurance system does not cover comprehensive diabetes care in a preventive model and private insurance companies only offer limited diabetes coverage. Because of this, most patients with diabetes rely on out-of-pocket expenses for laboratory procedures and daily medications. Consequently, poor medication adherence inhibits the prevention of complications.

Furthermore, behavioral and lifestyle modifications are difficult due to cultural preferences for a traditional diet of refined sugar, including bread and white rice.

As the country’s leading public health government agency, the Department of Health spearheads nationwide efforts in the prevention and control of diabetes and its complications.

The DOH provides free diabetes risk screening at rural health centers, public hospitals, barangay health stations, and other government health facilities.

The DOH also provides free medications, such as insulin and oral anti-diabetes medications to Filipino patients diagnosed with diabetes. Furthermore, in its dedication to improve health service delivery, the DOH also partnered with the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) to empower and build capacity among our primary healthcare workers in managing and treating diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus in the Philippines: Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle Modification Tips

There is still no cure for diabetes. However, eating healthy food, losing weight, staying active, and taking supplements like Diavit Herbs Capsule can help. Taking prescription medication as needed and regular checkups can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

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Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Diet and Exercise Tips
    If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your risk of developing life-threatening health conditions like heart disease and kidney disease is considerably higher than for people without diabetes. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Here some diet and exercise tips that may help minimize your risk factors and improve your overall health and well-being.
    • Eat a diet high in nutritious, fresh foods such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and healthy fat sources like nuts.
    • Avoid high-sugar foods that provide empty calories or calories that don’t have nutritional benefits, like fried foods, high-sugar desserts, and sweetened sodas.
    • Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as walking, swimming, cycling, and jogging.
  • Using Insulin
    People with type 2 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes, may have to inject insulin to keep their blood glucose levels from becoming too high. There are various types of insulin available, and most are grouped by how long their effects lasts. Types of insulin include regular, intermediate, and long-acting insulin.  
  • Lifestyle Modifications
    Certain lifestyle modifications may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Or, it may reduce your risk of complications if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes. Here are some lifestyle modifications that you should keep in mind.
    • Stay active. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to start moving. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day can help improve your overall health and well-being.
    • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. It can also help people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes better control their blood glucose levels.
    • Manage stress. When you’re stressed, your blood glucose levels go up.
    • Quit smoking. Diabetes increases your risk of health problems such as eye disease, stroke, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, your chance of developing health complications is even higher.
    • Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. It may be easier to control your blood glucose levels if you don’t drink too much wine, beer, or liquor.
  • Health Supplements
    Many people are able to manage their blood glucose levels with diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification. If not, a doctor can prescribe medications that can help manage blood glucose levels. Some of these medications include Metformin, Sulfonylureas, Thiazolidinediones, and Insulin, among others.

    Along with these treatments, people with diabetes may also want to try health supplements to improve their diabetes. These alternative treatments are supposed to reduce insulin resistance, help control blood glucose levels, and prevent diabetes-related health complications.

    Diavit Herbs is an FDA-approved health supplement that can help you maintain healthy blood glucose levels. It is made up of all-natural ingredients, including banaba, turmeric, and ampalaya, all of which provide numerous health benefits.

    Diavit Herbs can help:
    • Decrease blood glucose levels
    • Promote healthy weight loss
    • Boost immune system
    • Support overall brain health
    • Prevent diabetes-related health complications
  • Self-Monitoring
    Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is crucial for effective diabetes management. Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels provides key information regarding a person’s blood glucose profile which can help with the appropriate scheduling of physical activity, meals, and medications.

    You can test your blood glucose levels at home using a portable electronic device known as a blood sugar meter using a small drop of your blood. You can also use a device known as a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
    • For people with type 1 diabetes, your doctor may recommend blood glucose testing 4 to 10 times a day. You may need to test before and after meals, before and after exercise, before bed, if you start a new medication, or if you change your daily routine.
    • If you take insulin to manage type 2 diabetes, your doctor may suggest blood glucose testing several times a day, depending on the amount and type of insulin you use. Usually, testing is recommended before meals and at bedtime. If you manage type 2 diabetes with non-insulin medications, or with exercise and diet, you may not need to test your blood glucose levels daily.

The Bottom Line

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that impairs the body’s ability to process blood sugar. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it produces.

Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death among Filipinos. In total, there are over 3,993,300 diabetes cases among adults in the Philippines. Rapid urbanization combined with a sedentary lifestyle and increasing dependence of electronic gadgets significantly contribute to this epidemic.

There is still no cure for diabetes. However, eating healthy food, losing weight, staying active, and taking supplements like Diavit Herbs Capsule can help. Taking prescription medication as needed and regular checkups can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

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