Managing diabetes to protect the heart


    For most people, Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is seen as a minor inconvenience, affecting the food intake and regulated mainly by maintenance medication. However, this chronic disease has far-reaching consequences and if left unchecked, it could also lead to or worsen heart disease.

    To help spread awareness of T2D and its links to heart disease, Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines) Inc. in partnership with medical societies and patient groups launched “For Your SweetHeart,” an information campaign aimed at educating Filipino families and friends.

    “You have to manage it properly with the help of family members. The family has to be in it together. You have to practice it so that the person will follow,” TV personality Kim “Kuya Kim” Atienza, the official campaign ambassador, said.

    Dr. Orly Bugarin, president of the Philippine Heart Association, said during his presentation the life expectancy of patients with T2D and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is reduced by 12 years as CVD is a common comorbidity in T2D. More worryingly, the Philippines is already one of the top five countries in the Western Pacific Region with people living with diabetes.

    This makes it all the more important for Filipinos to learn and address the risks that come with the disease. Bugarin shared that T2D can lead to hypertension and high cholesterol and triglycerides.

    “When there is insulin resistance and hypertension, there is twice as much risk for developing cardiovascular disease,” he said.

    As much as 52 percent of mortalities of T2D patients may die of heart disease as an underlying cause. Bugarin also said based on medical studies, having diabetes can shorten a person’s lifespan by as much as six years. This doubles to 12 years if a diabetic individual has a history of heart attack or stroke.

    Managing T2D to stave off heart disease starts with awareness. “There are ways to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease for those with diabetes. Being aware of the impact of diabetes on heart health is a critical first step as well as consulting your doctor, so you know the best medical options to manage the disease,” Bugarin said.

    Like Atienza, Bugarin encourages people to spend more time with their loved ones who have diabetes for it is very difficult for them.

    “Restricting their diet and getting them to exercise is really difficult. We really have to join them in their journey. Family support is very important,” he said.

    The “For Your SweetHeart” campaign will focus not only on patients but on the caregivers as well.

    “It comes naturally for Filipinos to care of our loved ones. The campaign doesn’t just speak to those diagnosed with diabetes but also to the loved ones taking care of them,” said Dr. Greta Cortez, Boehringer Ingelheim head of medicine.

    “Boehringer Ingelheim has always believed in empowering and equipping both the patients and their loved ones with important information so they can make the best decisions together for their health and well-being,” she added.