A GROUP has reminded the public about the negative impacts or dangers of diabetes, which has long-term complications on the person who has it.

The Cebu chapter of the Diabetes Philippines Inc. has conducted a lecture and awareness program as part of the culminating activity of the Diabetes Awareness Week 2022 (fourth week of July), which carried the theme “Say NO to XXX, NO to Xtra Rice, NO to Xtra Calories, NO to Xtra Pounds” at the Barangay Guadalupe Sports Complex in Cebu City on Saturday morning, July 23, 2022

Diabetologist Dr. Marissa Garcia, president of the Diabetes Philippines-Cebu Chapter, advised the public to be conscious of what they eat—avoid, if not, eat moderately, food with too much carbohydrate such as bread, rice, noodles and pasta as these are major causes of diabetes.

Garcia defined diabetes as chronic or long lasting with negative impacts on the body when a person’s blood sugar increases because the body’s insulin or a hormone from the pancreas could no longer control the increase of blood sugar.

She added that the disease can also be passed on the afflicted person’s offspring.

To identify if a person has diabetes, Dr. Garcia said there are three major symptoms: first is polyuria—this is a condition when a person’s body produces more urine, reaching 15 liters of urine per day instead of the normal three liters of urine; second is polydipsia, a condition which a person drinks too much water but no amount of water can quench the thirst; and the third symptom is polyphagia, a condition when a person eats excessive amount of food, sometimes accompanied with significant weight loss because of the high amount of blood sugar.

The physician said a person who has these three symptoms must confirm if he has diabetes by undergoing laboratory tests.

The tests could be fasting blood sugar or random blood sugar tests, or through the 75 grams oral glucose tolerance test wherein the person will have to intake a sweet juice, measuring how well the person’s body uses sugar. The other test is hemoglobin A1C test, a simple blood test that measures the person’s blood sugar levels over the past three months.

Garcia said diabetes, if left untreated, causes complications that may result in stroke, heart attack, kidney problems, and even amputation of body parts due to excessive blood sugar that hinders the healing ability of the body.

“Hopefully, by doing Diabetic Awareness Week, our program can help or advise our diabetic patients to go to their doctors so that they can be advised on the right medication, the right food to eat, so that they could be far from complications,” she said.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease due to the elevated level of blood glucose or blood sugar that over time leads to serious damage in the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, according to the World Health Organization.

WHO added that there are about 422 million people worldwide with diabetes, particularly in the low-and middle-income countries where about 1.5 million deaths related to the disease are registered each year. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that deaths caused by diabetes mellitus ranked fourth in 2020 with 37,265 in total, after heart disease with 99,680 deaths, cancer with 62,289 deaths, and cerebrovascular disease with 59,736 deaths.

Diabetes Philippines, formally the Philippine Diabetic Association, is a nationwide group of doctors and experts in the field of battling diabetes. The group, founded in 1958, has 31 chapter provinces, aiming to become the prime mover in identifying patients at risk of diabetes and also help in preventing or slowing down the increase of people having the disease.

“Our advocacy is to hopefully help those people who are not yet diabetic because we can prevent the disease or at least delay the complications of those who already have diabetes,” Dr. Garcia said.