MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Food may be the fuel that keeps people going, but a carbohydrate overload is a lit fuse that could stop them dead on their tracks. Because we are a rice-eating nation, Filipinos tend to consume more of the national staple than needed or recommended by health experts.
Throw in a sedentary lifestyle, and you get a surefire formula for disease and death. Diabetes mellitus was one of the top causes of disease-related death in the country in 2009, according to the Department Health.[pq]One out of five Filipino adults is affected by either pre-diabetes or diabetes, participants at the “Ask the Diabetes Expert” forum organized by a global healthcare company were told.[/pq]
A study, Complications and Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Newly-Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetics in Manila, implies that diabetes has often been diagnosed in association with, and aggravates other conditions 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.
“Filipinos are regarded to belong to a high-risk diabetic population,” said Dr. Sjoberg Kho, chief of the section of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at University of Santo Tomas Hospital.
“Diabetes in the Philippines is a growing health problem affecting the lives of 9.7 percent of the adult population in 2012. This number tends to double if we add the 12.5 percent of Filipinos at-risk of diabetes with impaired glucose tolerance,” Dr. Jose Rodolfo Dimaano Jr. said, medical director of Abbot Nutrition Philippines.
Kho and Dimaano stressed that a change in lifestyle with healthy diet and right exercise as well as medical nutrition therapy can delay or prevent the onset of pre-diabetes in those at risk and may slow the progression for diabetics .
The following health complications can be triggered by diabetes — all requiring specialized medical attention:
* Cardiovascular diseases — Diabetics have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often compared to non diabetics.
* Eye complications.– This disease is the leading cause of vision loss in adults of working age. Fourteen percent of people with diabetes have diabetic macular edema while 25 percent of people with diabetic macular edema developing moderate vision loss.
* Kidney disease (Nephropathy) — It occurs in approximately one third of diabetics. Kidney failure typically occurs after 20 to 30 years of diabetes. Diabetes is the most frequent condition in people with kidney failure.
* Nerve damage (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 other health issues.
* High-blood pressure (Hypertension). This happens 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 — Diabetics get common skin problems easier compared to non-diabetics. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly or only to people with diabetes.
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– DFF, Medical Observer