In the Philippines, where approximately four million adults are diagnosed with diabetes, the majority of type 2 patients have common comorbidities and complications, including heart disease and obesity.
More than 32 percent of people with type 2 diabetes have cardiovascular complications, while more than 87 percent are either overweight or obese. Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes care, is encouraging Filipinos to become more aware of the risks associated with type 2 diabetes and innovative treatment options. A once-weekly injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist was recently launched that has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and body weight more effectively in studies of over 10,000 type 2 diabetes patients has cardiovascular benefits. Dr. Michael Villa, president of the Philippine Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, described the new treatment as “welcome news” and added that once a week treatment was “very convenient”. “Type 2 makes up about 85 percent of the population of patients with diabetes. These patients have several risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. These are mostly adult patients. Some are smokers, some are hypertensive, and some have cholesterol problems. This is an area that needs to be addressed and it is for this very reason that we raise concerns about these types of patients, ”he said. Dr. Gilbert Vilela, vice president of the Philippine Heart Association, underlined that diabetes – the fourth leading cause of death in Filipinos in 2020 – has remained a silent and ongoing problem, especially amid the pandemic. “For the past three years, ischemic heart disease, cancer and pneumonia have been listed as the top three leading causes of death in Filipinos, followed by diabetes in fourth place. However, the news here is that the increase in ischemic heart disease is only 2.3 percent, while cancer decreased about 10 percent and pneumonia decreased about 6 percent. Diabetes rose 7.8 percent, ”said Vilela. “The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have had a direct impact on diabetes control. There is a lack of accessibility, restricted mobility and physical inactivity, and an increase in anxiety and fear among patients and their families,” he added. Novo Nordisk is committed to continuing to play an important role in introducing innovative, research and development-based diabetes. “Novo Nordisk is committed to developing innovative medicines that will help Filipinos with diabetes live longer, healthier lives. We are leaders in innovation in GLP-1 treatments, helping people with type 2 diabetes address cardiovascular risk and its other diverse risk factors. This is how we express our unique Novo Nordisk care brand – by addressing the unmet needs of people with diabetes, ”said Cihan Serdar Kizilcik, Vice President and General Manager of Novo Nordisk Philippines.
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