Editorial: Healthy lifestyle vs diabetes

YESTERDAY, November 14, was World Diabetes Day; a reminder that our decisions in life can make this miserable if we do not take heed of warnings, especially about our health.

According to the United Nations: "Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent in the adult population. This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries."

We're right over there.. among the low and middle-income countries whose people consume instant noodles and nothing else for days on end, gorge on rice every day, and chug down soda as a treat to ourselves. Don't forget the three-in-one coffee and iced tea mixes whose sugar levels are way above what anyone should be consuming in a day.

While known to be a lifestyle disease, many Filipinos ignore the warning, their love for rice, noodles, and sweets always overriding the will to resist.

Thus, ringing the warning about diabetes never grows old, especially every November 14, the World Diabetes Day.

Thus, we put stress on the warnings of the World Health Organization (WHO) about this disease that is getting to be more common by the year.

Here are some facts gleaned from WHO:

Adults with diabetes have a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation.

Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. 2.6 percent of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes.

Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure.

In simple words, it's not an easy disease to suffer from. The suffering can be stretched for years, but the good news is, simple lifestyle change helps prevent or delays the onset of type 2 diabetes, the type that is acquired from lifestyle. These are:

* achieve and maintain healthy body weight;

* be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;

* eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake; and

* avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

As yet another World Diabetes Day is marked, let us be more conscious of what we eat, how we live, the habits we have picked up, and how sluggard we have become.
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