Diabetes is a serious chronic disease characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels, affecting the normal functions of the body organs. Most of the food you consume is broken down into sugar or glucose and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar shoots up, it signals your pancreas to release a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts like a key to allow the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t utilize the insulin it makes as well as it should.
In the Philippines, there are about 63 million Filipino adults who are diagnosed with this health condition. In a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Diabetes Mellitus ranked fourth as the leading cause of death in the country, based on data gathered from January to December 2020. By 2030, 5.3 million more Filpinos are projected to have diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation or IDF.
Although less common, there are also young people who develop diabetes. In the past, doctors thought only adults aged 40 and up were at risk of having it. However, an increasing number of kids and teenagers are now being diagnosed with the disease. This is why parents should be aware of the symptoms that may include frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, feeling of tiredness, itchiness in the genitals, blurry vision or slow healing of wounds. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, take your child to the doctor immediately for early detection and proper treatment.
Uncontrolled blood sugar may cause serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy among others. It can also be life-threatening especially during this pandemic. According to Dr. Gojka Roglic of the World Health Organization (WHO), people with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes are at a higher risk of having severe COVID-19 and even death.
Whatever your age, always know the importance of regularly monitoring and managing your blood sugar and reaching your blood sugar targets. Have a blood sugar meter (also called a glucometer) at home so you can always check. Familiarize yourself with the factors that affect your blood sugar and the lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent or delay diabetes-related health problems.
1. Eat well, eat healthy. A balanced diet is essential whether you have diabetes or not. Learn how to practice portion control and consume only the right amount of fruits and vegetables. Avoid too many carbohydrates, sodas, chocolates and other desserts.
2. Exercise. Physical activity must be included in your management plan because when you exercise, your muscles use glucose or sugar for energy and your body uses insulin more efficiently. You may ask your doctor what intensity level of exercise you can perform. Make sure to stay hydrated and prepare a small snack in case your blood sugar drops while doing the activity.
3. Take your medicine regularly. Don’t miss taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor. They are designed to help lower your sugar level.
4. Avoid alcohol. It’s okay to drink occasionally, but it’s better to ask your doctor first as to what alcoholic beverages are right for you.
5. Control your stress. Prolonged stress may cause your blood sugar to rise. Know some relaxation techniques and avoid common stressors.
6. Plan ahead. If you have a family history of diabetes, it’s good to start watching what you eat and do some regular physical activities, monitor your blood sugar levels and get health coverage while you are not yet diagnosed with any illness like diabetes.
The Department of Health urges Filipinos to do some preventive actions against diabetes. According to the DOH, screening for diabetes and educating the people on its signs, symptoms, and preventive measures play a great role in addressing this debilitating disease.
Paramount Direct supports World Diabetes Day this November 14 as it raises awareness and ensures better quality of living for all Filipinos. We offer a health insurance product, our Hospital Income Benefit Plan, which covers any illness or injury and provides cash benefits at the end of hospital confinements. It also covers pre-existing conditions after two (2) years of continuous coverage.
Individual, couple and family plans are available for ages 20 to 64 years and at affordable monthly premiums which begin at PHP69*, PHP131** and PHP175*** respectively. Get a quote and apply online now at https://www.paramountdirect.com/health-insurance/hospital-income-benefit-plan.
Let us keep increasing awareness and not giving up in fighting diabetes. Although there is no cure for it, know that medications are available and it can be managed.
*Based on Insurance age of 20 and Plan 500 (Individual coverage)
**Based on Insurance age of 20 and Plan 500 (Couple coverage)
***Based on Insurance age of 20 and Plan 500 (Family coverage)