BrandedUp in partnership with MSD in the Philippines
During the 1990s, diabetes was not among the top ten causes of death in the Philippines. Now, diabetes has emerged as the 4th leading cause of mortality among Filipinos.
This was the opening remark of Dr. Cecilia A. Jimeno on a webinar called “Diabetes 101 For Every Juan: Kontrolado Ko Diabetes Ko sa Tamang Kaalaman” in recognition of World Diabetes Day on November 14. The webinar is sponsored by the Philippine Star and MSD in the Philippines. MSD is a leading global healthcare provider, providing innovative medicines and vaccines and other therapies to improve health and well-being. The webinar aims to educate Filipinos about the disease and how it can be managed, if not entirely prevented.
“Diabetes is now the number one cause for undergoing dialysis in the Philippines,” said Dr. Jimeno. “In fact, diabetes has also become the number one cause for amputation among Filipinos.”
Dr. Jimeno stressed the importance of treatment of the deadly disease as well as recognizing symptoms before it wreaks havoc on our organs.
The sweet killer
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when our pancreas do not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Unchecked rise in blood sugar levels, medically known as Hyperglycaemia, will cause harm to our nerves and blood vessels over time.
The more common is Type II, or ‘adult diabetes’. This type is mostly hereditary, passed down from a family with a diabetic history. While we generally develop Type II diabetes as we grow older into our senior years, more and more younger individuals are now at risk of acquiring this type of diabetes—regardless of family history. According to Dr. Jimeno, this is due to unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and irregular sleeping patterns.
During the Kontrolado Ko Diabetes Ko World Diabetes Day Webinar, Dr. Jimeno stressed the importance of screening during medical checkups in preventing the onset of this deadly disease. Essential tests for screening diabetes are blood sugar count, blood pressure check and monitoring of cholesterol levels. From these tests, you can develop a health program, with the help of medical professionals, to avoid the disease from worsening.
Medical experts agree that early detection is key in battling diabetes. screening for ‘pre-diabetes' will help prevent the onset of the actual disease. This is done through what’s called the ‘ABC’ test—A1C test for blood sugar count, Blood pressure checks, and Cholesterol level monitoring. These tests are crucial to detect the onset of pre-diabetes, and will guide experts in recommending health program to patients in order to avoid the disease from worsening.
A1C, or HbA1c, is a test that measures blood glucose control of your body over the past two to three months. The target for most people is under 7%. Monitoring blood pressure is important to check if your heart is able to regulate blood circulation, which is key to the processing of insulin in our bodies. For most people with high blood pressure and diabetes, the ideal blood pressure levels should be below 130/80 mm Hg.
Checking your cholesterol level through determining the number of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) should be done at least once a year. Through monitoring of these types of cholesterol, experts may be guided in giving you medical advice, which may be modified based on your individual risk profile.
Experts in the Kontrolado Ko Diabetes Ko World Diabetes Day Webinar the importance of eating healthy, being physically active, and, once diagnosed, adhering to one’s medication.
Adherence to one’s medication is a key part of health care, and affects all areas. Medication non-adherence in patients leads to substantial worsening of disease, which eventually leads to death—not to mention the increased health care costs.
During the webinar, experts recommend approaching individuals about non-adherence in a manner that is non-accusatory, allowing them to address the issue without fear of being reprimanded. They said that it is best to collaborate with them in helping them get the most out of their medications and achieve lifestyle modifications. The role of family as a support system for diabetic patients is therefore crucial in managing the disease.
Pharmacists as source of health information
Aside from family, health care professionals are undoubtedly important in the care of patients with diabetes. Filipinos are mostly averse to regularly going to their doctors, in which case, another set of health care professionals play an important role in curbing the spread of diabetes.
“Pharmacists are often seen as mere dealers of medicine when, in fact, they are also health care professionals,” said Bryan S. Posadas, RPh, MBA during the Kontrolado Ko Diabetes Ko World Diabetes Day Webinar.
Indeed, pharmacists are among the most accessible health care professionals, and are identified as trustworthy source of health information. Moreover, pharmacists in the country have recently expanded their services to include clinical services such as health consultation, medication information, health promotion and adult immunization, among many others.
This can be especially seen in Mercury Drug Corporation’s continually expanding list of services, such as when they launched the “Get Well at Mercury Drug Diabetes Care” specialty corners. These “Get Well” hubs mark the first time that a retail pharmacy has provided customers holistic care for treatment and prevention of diabetes—from providing assortment of products and medicines to in-store patient counseling by trained pharmacists.
“Mercury Drug is present in every community, and as a company we recognize the fact that the number of patients being diagnosed with diabetes is growing,” said Nellie Calipjo, District Manager of Mercury Drug Corporation. “Through our strategic network, we ensured that medicines are within reach and can be accessed by diabetic patients.”
Currently Mercury Drug Corporation has 31 diabetes specialty care hubs nationwide. They have 12 in GMA, two in Luzon, nine in Visayas and 7 in Mindanao. Mercury plans on opening more of these specialty corners to help promote awareness about diabetes and help elevate diabetes care and treatment in the country.
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