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Diabetes on the Rise among Filipinos

The health indicator statistics of the Department of Health (DOH) has found that diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death// in the Philippines, affecting 1 out of 25 Filipinos. An estimated 3.36 million Filipinos are affected by the disease today. This number is is expected to rise to about 8 million in about 20 years.

Dr. Rosa Allyn Sy, president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (PSEM), said the 1997 Food and Nutrition Research Institute survey conducted by DOH, found that there are 2.8 million Filipinos who were diagnosed with diabetes. From 1993 to 1997, 2.1 percent of the deaths recorded are due to diabetes and annually the cases of diabetes continue to increase by 2.5 percent.

She added, ‘The prevalence rate of diabetes in Western Pacific region is 4.3 percent and this is expected to go as high as 6.9 percent by 2025.’

The pre-diabetes disease that affects about 8 million Filipinos has become particularly alarming to health experts.

According to Dr. Ruby Go, president of the Philippine Lipid Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS) there is a large number of Filipinos mostly in their productive years who carry impaired glucose tolerance or impaired glucose fasting wherein blood sugar levels are higher than the normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

She added, “Prediabetes occurs when the body does not respond properly to its own insulin and this cause glucose levels in the blood to increase.”

Patients who have pre-diabetes are not warned about their condition because their sugar levels do not yet indicate that they are likely to develop the disease. Drs. Sy and Go state that drugs in addition to exercise and proper diet, play a major part in keeping diabetes at bay.

Dr. Joven Tanchuco, medical director of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Philippines said, “Diabetes is a growing epidemic in the Philippines. But the last few years have seen many new advances in o
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