6M Pinoys have diabetes
AT LEAST six million Filipinos all over the country have been diagnosed to have diabetes.
Dr. Augusto Litonjua, president of the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation, warned that this figure could double to 12 million or even more by 2040 because of undiagnosed diabetes cases.
Litonjua, an endocrinologist, lamented that the war against diabetes was being lost despite the advanced knowledge, diagnostic technology and treatment available.
“We are losing the war against diabetes because diabetes keeps increasing in prevalence around the world,” he told a press conference in Quezon City.
According to Litonjua, the Philippines has a 6.1 prevalence rate of diabetes, which means that six million Filipinos are currently diagnosed to be diabetic.
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is defined as a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period.
Litonjua warned that for every one person diagnosed to have diabetes, there is one person suffering from diabetes but has not yet been diagnosed.
“So if we double the number of Filipinos who have diabetes, that will amount to about 12 million Filipinos who actually have diabetes,” he said.
He cited employees working in the call center and business process outsourcing industry, who work at night and are asleep during the day.
The endocrinologist explained that this reverse habit fractures the body’s diurnal rhythm or the body’s sleep-wake cycles, which causes the body to suffer a lot of stress.
Stress, fast-food culture
“Stress is one of those which precipitate diabetes mellitus. It is predicted that many of the employees in call centers will become diabetics sooner or later, and this will add up to the number of Filipinos who will have diabetes,” Litonjua warned.
He also blamed the fast-food culture for offering calorie-dense food, which leads to obesity and a higher risk for diabetes.
He pointed out that while Filipinos are “deathly afraid” of cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the Zika and dengue viruses, one person dies of diabetes complications every six seconds.
“That is much, much more than those who die from AIDS, the Zika virus, dengue and from other diseases that we are deathly afraid of,” Litonjua said.
To avoid or prevent diabetes mellitus, he called on the public to avoid the three “Ks”—katakawan (gluttony), katamaran (laziness), and katabaan (obesity).
Those over the age of 40 are recommended to get tested for diabetes, even if they do not have a family history of diabetes, Litonjua added.
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