1 in 14 adult Filipinos have diabetes: expert

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

July 26, 2023, 6:42 pm

<p>Passengers at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange <em>(PNA photo by Jess Escaros)</em></p>

Passengers at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PNA photo by Jess Escaros)

MANILA – The diabetes prevalence in the Philippines is 6.3 percent, resulting in a ratio of one in 14 Filipino adults living with the disease as of 2019.

In a media Kapihan forum on Wednesday, Diabetes Philippines, Inc. Board of Trustee, Dr. Cynthia Sanchez said of the 63,265,700 Filipino adults in 2019, 3,993,300 have diabetes.

"Pine-predict na by 2030, ito pong 3.9 million ay tataas ng 5.2 million and by 2045, tataas pa po ng 7.2 million (It is predicted that by 2030, this 3.9 million will increase to 5.2 million, and by 2045, this will increase to 7.2 million)," she said.

Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the country. Heart diseases remain the number one cause of death and it is followed by stroke (second) and cancer (third).

Diabetes is the increase of glucose in the blood due to lack of insulin or improper use of it by the body.

The two main risk factors for diabetes are family history and being overweight or obesity. Its incidence among Filipinos increase after the age of 40.

"Ang prediabetes state ay kung saan mayroon tayong borderline na blood sugar, lampas na sa normal pero di pa umaabot sa level ng diabetes at nakita po sa pag-aaral na ang mga diabetic ay 2 to 10 years nasa prediabetic state bago sila ma-convert sa full diabetes (The prediabetes state is where there is borderline blood sugar, above normal but not reaching the diabetes level and studies show that diabetics are usually in prediabetic state for 2 to 10 years before they convert to full diabetes)," Sanchez said.

"Ang prediabetic po, tatlo ang patutunguhan, una pwede pa sila makabalik sa normal, pangalawa, pwede sila ma-convert sa full blown diabetes after 2 to 10 years. Pangatlo, pwede silang maging  (The prediabetes, can lead back to normal state, second, can be converted to full diabetes after 2 to 10 years. Thirdly, they can be) prediabetic for the rest of their lives."

Other risk factors for diabetes include gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, visceral fats or harmful fats in the body (big waist circumference), sedentary lifestyle, increased eating, hypertension, heavy cigarette smoking, darkening of armpits, groin, and neck (signs of insulin resistance), and stress.

Symptoms of diabetes include constant hunger, always thirsty, weight gain, unexplained weight loss, increase in blood pressure, increase in blood sugar, numbness, diziness, lack of energy, lack of interest in sex, blurry vision, frequent urination, and constant infections.

The parts of the body affected by diabetes are the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.

Lifestyle modification, balanced diet, exercise and proper medication could help Filipinos avoid having diabetes. (PNA)