from the Health & Wellness Notes of Renzie Baluyut.
Today, November 14, is World Diabetes Day. Two years ago, the United Nations thought it would be a good idea to set aside this day each year to increase the general public’s awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications.
The end goal, of course, is that all this increased awareness will lead to more resources to fight the causes of diabetes and help fund research into improved treatment options.
So today, you have all kinds of media channels- TV, publications, blogs, etc.- participating in the campaign to distribute information to encourage at-risk individuals to be screened for diabetes.
Now the topic of diabetes is of particular significance and relevance to me. You see, I’m a high risk case myself. Check it out:
- Mom has been diagnosed with diabetes, and dad (who passed away with cancer) also was diagnosed with hypertension.
- I’m an obese dude- my current weight is far more than my ideal weight of 175 to 180 pounds.
- I haven’t been exercising lately- and I admit to leading a fairly sedentary lifestyle.
Of course, working in my favor are the following:
- I don’t smoke.
- I don’t have a habit of drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee. I enjoy a frap or a cappuccino every now and then, but not everyday. Not even every week, I imagine.
- I am cutting back on the snacks and the soda- sugar-free or otherwise.
- I get my 8 hours of sleep a day, which reduces my likelihood to need any pick-me-up drinks like coffee or energy drinks.
- I try to eat healthier. Whole wheat bread, extra virgin olive oil, more salads, less sugary stuff, all that.
Now here’s the thing: there’s a good chance that you might have diabetes already.
In this other blog post of mine on World Diabetes Day on Renzie Baluyut Online, a recent study already mentioned that as many as three out of five adults may already be on the verge of becoming a diabetic unless they change their lifestyle. Oh, and at least 20% of Filipino adults have diabetes already.
Yes, it’s that common.
Now check this out:
One of the challenges according to Dr. B. Eric E. Desquitado of the Asian Hospital in Alabang, is that many people might already have diabetes without their knowing it. “Diabetes is largely asymptomatic,” he says, “at least until the patient comes complaining about, say numbness of the feet or something else.”
Another challenge is that, since most of the early manifestations of diabetes aren’t painful, the urgency to seek medical attention is NOT there. Which is what the annual full body examination is for.
So word of advice, ladies and gentlemen: take that annual physical exam of yours really seriously. It gives you and your doctor to talk about what kind of danger signs you already have on a multitude of diseases and disorders- including diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that is centered around a hormone: insulin. Insulin works by allowing glucose from the food we eat to enter cells and make energy.
In one type of diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin at all, so not all the glucose is used, and the cells don’t get to convert all that sugar into energy. In another type the body is producing lots of insulin, but the cells just don’t respond to it– this is called insulin resistance.
In either case, the end result is that you now have too much glucose in the blood, which is called hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. The excess sugar in the blood can lead to wide range of short and long-term complications, including foot and eye problems and vascular diseases.
Reading Up on Diabetes
There are a lot of great resources online on diabetes- whether you’re avoiding it, or you’re living with it, or living with a loved one who has diabetes.
Personally, I recommend this one particular site: The Glam Publisher Network’s section on diabetic nutrition on LoveToKnow.com. It’s got great articles and ideas on managing meal plans and food for diabetics- a kind of diet that I think is actually good for people like myself who’s trying to prevent the onset of diabetes.
Dr. B. Eric E. Desquitado, M.D., F.P.C.P., is an internist and diagnostitician at the Asian Hospital in Alabang.