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When you hear about someone afflicted with diabetes the first thing that comes to mind is "mahilig siguro yan sa matamis." Pero alam mo ba na hindi ang pagiging mahilig sa matamis ang pangunahing dahilan bakit nagkakaroon ng diabetes ang isang tao? 

Ano ba ang diabetes?

According to WHO, diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Paano kung meron diabetes ang magulang ko? May choice ba ako?

Ang risk na magkakaroon ka ng diabetes ay both genetics and environmental. Sa usapang genetics, kung isa sa magulang mo ay may diabetes may 50% chance na magkaroon ka din. Kung parehong magulang mo, 70% ang chance mo. 

Kung paano mo mapapababa ang risk, dito pumapasok ang environmental factor. Ano ba ang lifestyle mo? Eto ang kontrolado mo. Malakas ka bang kumain? Nag-eexercise ka ba? May bisyo ka ba? 

Eh eto na nga, may diabetes ka na. May pag-asa ba pa?

According to Dr. Aurora Macaballug, Board Member and Chair of the Advocacy Committee of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) "Diabetes is a deadly disease, but it can oftentimes be taken for granted. What not a lot of people know is it can be controlled and managed as long as patients stick to the treatments prescribed by their doctors.”

Apat Dapat, Education, and Accessibility - Key to Diabetes Management

According to Dr. Macaballug, four elements have to be met to successfully manage diabetes. Dubbed as Apat Dapat, patients can take control of their condition through (1) exercise, (2) proper diet, (3) regular intake of diabetes medication/insulin, and (4) regular consultations with a physician

Adherence, which means taking prescribed medication with the right dose and frequency, is one of the 4 pillars of PSEDM’s advocacy to managing diabetes. And while the patient is largely responsible in adhering to Apat Dapat, healthcare providers recognize the need for more proactive support. 

“Managing one’s diabetes is not easy. That’s why we try to help people cope with the illness through more proactive support, beginning with education,” said diabetes nurse educator and PADE President Leyden Florido. “The more they know about their disease, the better they’re equipped to cope and manage it.” 

Pharmacists have also expanded their support for diabetes patients during the pandemic, as they have become one of the more accessible healthcare professionals in the community. “We can help patients understand the dangers of chronic diseases like diabetes and the importance of prevention and adherence,” said Mercury Drug representative and pharmacist Nellie Calipjo. “Patient adherence requires a lifestyle change and will be better accepted if access to medicine, counseling, and other care items are readily available. This is the inspiration behind our Get Well Diabetes Care Hub, a one-stop-shop section in select Mercury Drug stores dedicated to the needs of patients with diabetes,” she added. 

In the end, the best outcomes for people with diabetes will depend on the changes they make to their lifestyles to follow prescribed treatments. 

Through the Kontrolado Ko, Diabetes Ko campaign, MSD continues to collaborate with medical societies and the health care industry to remind Filipinos about the importance of making impactful changes to one’s lifestyle to manage diabetes and promote better health outcomes.