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Are you at risk for diabetes?

By LAI S. REYES, The Philippine STAR Published Nov 30, 2020 3:00 pm Updated Nov 30, 2020 10:25 am

The online Diabetes Risk Assessment is free and takes only two minutes to accomplish. Listed on the survey are 12 questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to three or more, that means you’re at risk.

One in every two people with diabetes doesn’t know that he or she has it. And, as the saying goes, “Mabuti pa ang langgam — alam.”

People with diabetes (or high blood sugar) may have seen ants being attracted to their urine. Some congregate near unflushed toilet bowls, while some are seen in hamper baskets with soiled underwear. 

I’m aware of all these because my husband is a diabetic, and I lost my dear sister to complications of this debilitating disease, which could have been prevented had she been aware of her risks and acted upon it.

Early detection and treatment of diabetes is, indeed, an important step toward keeping people with diabetes healthy. It can help reduce the risk of serious complications such as premature heart disease and stroke, blindness, limb amputation and kidney failure.

To aid Filipinos in defeating diabetes in the time of the pandemic, global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk Philippines has come up with a Diabetes Risk Assessment tool that can be accessed conveniently online. This is ideal for those who suspect that their blood sugar level is elevated, but are still afraid to see their doctors for fear of contracting COVID-19.

This free online assessment of one’s risk for type 2 diabetes takes only two minutes of your time. Just visit this link, then click the start button to answer the survey. Listed on the survey are 12 questions based on the Philippine Guidelines for Diabetes. If you answer yes to three or more questions, that means you are at risk for diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease. If left untreated, it could lead to blindness, kidney failure, loss of limb and reduced life expectancy.

“This is a fast and easy way to find out the presence of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which may support patients for further medical consultation,” explains Dr. Cecilia Jimeno, an endocrinologist at UP-PGH, during the virtual press conference in celebration of World Diabetes Day.

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW WILL KILL YOU

Over 400 million worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes.

Through the online Diabetes Risk Assessment tool, individuals with high diabetes risks can be diagnosed earlier and in turn, have proper medical treatment.

“In the Philippines, I learned that eight percent of Filipinos are pre-diabetic,” shares Cihan Serdar Kizilcik, VP and GM of Novo Nordisk Phils. “That’s nine million Filipinos. And if you add the currently diagnosed four million, that’s almost the population of Metro Manila already. And there’s no way we can afford to ignore it.”

Diabetes is a chronic disease. If left untreated, it could lead to blindness, kidney failure, loss of limb and reduced life expectancy.

And with these statistics, it is clearly imperative to bring these alarming numbers down. Early diagnosis, treatment and familiarity with one’s risk factors are vital for better management of this global disease.

Created by Novo Nordisk Philippines, in partnership with the Quezon City Lions Club Inc., the Diabetes Risk Assessment tool aims to promote early-detection awareness by adopting a version of the risk assessment survey of the International Diabetes Federation and localizing it for Filipinos.

Through the online Diabetes Risk Assessment tool, individuals with high diabetes risks can be diagnosed earlier and in turn, have proper medical treatment. 

Some of the risk factors, especially for type 2 diabetes, include family history, race, age and yes, depression.

Knowing these risk factors is crucial to help identify which ones can be controlled and which ones are inevitable.

“But knowing isn’t enough,” stresses Dr. Jimeno. “Doing something about what you already know is very important.”

A well-informed diabetic patient can improve his/her quality of life.

Once you know that you’re at high risk for type 2 diabetes, consult your doctor right away “so we can assess your health status, conduct the necessary lab tests for better management of your condition, and ultimately control the disease audits accompanying complications,” adds Dr. Jimeno.

As for people with low to moderate risk, they may prevent the onset of diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle combined with regular medical consultation.

Defeating diabetes, especially amid a global pandemic, is tough.

“COVID-19 hangs as a dark cloud this year around the world,” notes Danish Ambassador Grete Sillasen, a diabetes advocate. “But if there’s a silver lining behind that cloud, everybody — the decision makers, doctors, nurses and patients — has become aware of how important it is to have the right health system to fight whatever disease we will be up against. Everybody has to work together.”

Novo Nordisk continues its commitment to raise awareness and take action against the disease that affects so many Filipinos.

“We’re here to drive change to defeat diabetes by providing access to affordable care and making insulin available at a lower cost,” enthuses Kizilcik. “Continuous efforts are also made by finding new ways to overcome the disease and making donations to several foundations.”

Novo Nordisk has also partnered with the Quezon City Cubao Lions Club Inc.; the Philippine Diabetes Support; Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators; Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation Inc.; Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM); Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation, Inc. (ISDF); Diabetes Philippines, Inc. (DP); American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), and the Danish Embassy to ensure that the information about this campaign is well-distributed to their community of doctors and patients.

“A well-informed diabetic patient can improve his/her quality of life,” says Dr. Grace Ko-Delos Santos, president of Diabetes Philippines. “If your parents are diabetic, there’s a possibility that you’ll be, too. Be extra careful. Watch what you eat, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

With the collective effort of all these organizations, our hope to #DefeatDiabetesTogether is strong.

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The Diabetes Risk Assessment survey can be accessed through https://healthtoday.ph/diabetes- club/. To know more about Novo Nordisk, visit https://www.novonordisk.com.

Banner photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels