Alarms are being raised due to the dangerous increase of people being diagnosed with diabetes. In the Philippines, 3,721,900 Filipinos were diagnosed with the disease in 2017.
Efforts to prevent and control diabetes start with awareness and education. This is why during the recent celebration of World Diabetes Day, global healthcare company Novo Nordisk Philippines together with the Lions Clubs of the Philippines, the Quezon City local government, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, the Institute for the Study of Diabetes Foundation Inc., Diabetes Philippines, the Institute of Reproductive Health, and communities in Metro Manila gathered to show support for the cause of promoting diabetes prevention, control, and management.
“We believe that half of the people who live with diabetes are not aware they have diabetes, and of the half who knows they have diabetes, only half get treatments,” says Cihan Serdar Kizilcik, Vice President and General Manager for Novo Nordisk Philippines. “More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. In the Philippines, the numbers are increasing. It’s important that we recognize diabetes and that it can be prevented.”
Dr. Jeremy Robles, President of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism during the World Diabetes Day media forum shared that the pre-diabetes stage is as important as being diagnosed with diabetes, because pre-diabetic patients are also at risk of acquiring the complications of the chronic disease. “Pre-diabetes occurs mainly in the younger population and those at risk. These are the ones who have family members who are already diabetic, those who are overweight and obese, those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and people who are sedentary and don’t exercise.”
Dr. Theresa Faller, President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology – Philippines Chapter cautions the youth, especially those in their mid-twenties to early thirties, to be more mindful of their lifestyle, because doctors are seeing more people in this age group having diabetes. “We get 28-year olds and patients who are a little below 35 years old who get heart attacks and stroke and a primary factor is because of diabetes and a very bad lifestyle.”
Dr. Grace Ko Delos Santos, President of Diabetes Philippines also emphasized how families can care for their loved ones with diabetes, “It’s difficult to care for a diabetic patient if the family is not involved. The whole family should be eating the same food as the diabetic patient. A diabetic’s diet is not complicated. There are just some things we prohibit such as sugar, honey, and salty food. But it’s simply a nutritious diet, which can prevent so many illnesses.”
Medical organizations are doing their part in spreading information campaigns about diabetes, sending specialists to aid government hospitals, putting up diabetes clinics, and reaching out to far-flung communities.
The Quezon City local government also proudly took part in the World Diabetes Day event and reiterated their commitment to prevent and control diabetes. “We are creating more educational programs that we can bring to the barangay level,” says Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto. “We have monitoring of blood sugars in all medical missions we conduct.
But we can’t do this alone. We have a three million population in Quezon City, that’s why we really need all the help we can get.”