NEW TREATMENT. President of the Philippine Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Dr. Michael Villa (left) and Dr. Gilbert Vilela, Vice President of the Philippine Heart Association, participated in an online forum on Thursday (May 6, 2021) focusing on diabetes and other related diseases. The forum also presented the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist Novo Nordisk once a week, which is said to lower blood sugar levels and body weight. (Contributed Photo)
MANILA – Community restrictions and remote working regulations keep Filipinos safe at home and from Covid-19.
However, experts said that sedentary lifestyle and decreased activity lead to other conditions, such as obesity, which can develop into type 2 diabetes mellitus or diabetes in adults.
“The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown 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,” said Dr. Gilbert Vilela, vice president of the Philippine Heart Association, highlighted in a virtual conference with reporters on Thursday.
Data from the Philippine Bureau of Statistics showed that deaths from diabetes mellitus ranked fourth in 2020 at 37,265 after heart disease (99,680), cancer (62,289) and cerebrovascular disease (59,736).
The number of deaths from diabetes mellitus, which according to Vilela is “a very silent and persistent problem”, increased by 7.8 percent compared to 2019.
Four million adults in the Philippines are diagnosed with diabetes and common comorbidities and complications of type 2 diabetes, including heart disease, according to Vilela.
More than 32 percent of people with type 2 diabetes have cardiovascular complications, while more than 87 percent are either overweight or obese, according to their data.
“For the past three years, ischemic heart disease, cancer and pneumonia have been listed as the top three leading causes of death in Filipinos, with diabetes ranking fourth. The news here, however, is that ischemic heart disease is only increasing by 2.3 percent while Cancer decreased about 10 percent and pneumonia decreased about six percent. Diabetes rose 7.8 percent, “said Vilela.
change of lifestyle
Dr. Michael Villa, President of the Philippine Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, highlighted a change in behavior.
“Type 2 diabetes makes up around 85 percent of patients with diabetes. These patients have several risk factors. Some are smokers, others are hypertensive, others have cholesterol problems, ”said Villa.
“Nationally coordinated efforts should be made to continue preventing other non-communicable diseases like diabetes and this is one of the things we are promoting,” he said.
New affordable treatment
Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes care, encourages Filipinos to become more aware of the risks associated with type 2 diabetes and innovative treatment options.
To meet the unmet needs of Filipinos with type 2 diabetes, Novo Nordisk is introducing a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist once a week.
Experts said the treatment “activates GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas, resulting in increased insulin release and reduced glucagon release responses, both of which are glucose-dependent – with a consequent low risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).”
“We are leading the innovation of GLP-1 treatments, helping people with type 2 diabetes address cardiovascular risk and its other multiple risk factors,” said Cihan Serdar Kizilcik, vice president and general manager of Novo Nordisk Philippines, in one Explanation.
Kizilcik said the injectable drug has been studied in over 10,000 type 2 diabetes patients worldwide and has produced greater blood sugar and body weight reductions compared to other commonly used treatments for type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular benefits.
The GLP-1 receptor agonist is a prescribed drug and shouldn’t be taken without medical advice, he warned. (PNA)