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ARTICLE OF THE MONTH

D I A B E T E S

A r e  y o u  a t  r i s k?

BY: DR. MARIA PRINCESS LANDICHO-KANAPI

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that occurs in individuals who may not have enough insulin produced in the body or who does not respond properly to insulin.

You may imagine insulin as a key that opens the doors in your body’s cells to let blood sugar in. If there are not enough keys to open the cells, sugar builds up in the bloodstream and cannot enter the muscles and other organs to produce energy.

This disease is one of the most disabling illnesses in the world. It is a burden not just to the patients but also to any country’s healthcare system with its numerous complications such as blindness, heart disease, stroke, amputations and kidney failure, not to mention its high cost of treatment. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, majority of which live in developing countries like the Philippines.

Indeed, the disease has become an epidemic.

In 2040, the International Diabetes Federation projected that more than 640 million of us may be living with diabetes which means that one in ten adults will have diabetes. These numbers scare me, I bet it has the same effect on you.

My practice deals with adults and my diabetic patients would often ask me what type of diabetes they have. I would educate them on the common types of diabetes namely type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus

typically occurs in childhood or early adulthood. The body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-making cells (beta cells) of the pancreas. For this type, the treatment will always be insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

usually develops in adulthood. This is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. This type often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity. This is often the type of diabetes my patients have. The third type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is called

gestational diabetes.

Now, how would you know if you are one of the 422 million living with diabetes? If you are not diabetic now, would you be one of the 640 million with diabetes in 2040?

There are a number of reasons that would make one prone to be diabetic. To determine your chance of getting type 2 diabetes, go through my checklist below and

put a mark beside the risk factors that are applicable to you:

You are 40 years old and above



You have a history of increased blood glucose (impaired fasting glucose/pre-
   diabetes)



You have a parent or brother/sister with diabetes



You had diabetes during pregnancy or you delivered a baby weighing 8    pounds or more



You have polycystic ovarian syndrome



You are overweight or obese (see website’s homepage to compute your    BMI)



You have a waist line of 31.5 inches (female) or 35.5 inches (male) and    above



You have a sedentary life style and you do not exercise



You have high blood pressure



You have high cholesterol



You were diagnosed with stroke or heart disease



You have any of these symptoms:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate especially at night
  • Increased appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Rapid and unexplained weight gain loss

The more risk factors or symptoms you have, the more likely you are to have diabetes. If you think you are at risk, it is time to see your doctor and talk about why you think you may have diabetes. Some simple blood tests will ease any worries you may have. If you are diabetic, your doctor will guide you on how it should be managed. Remember, early detection is vital to conquer diabetes. Together with a healthy lifestyle, an effective treatment and good blood sugar control, a good quality of life will be in your favour.