Diabetes is not just about blood sugar, it’s a heart disease.
In a recent discussion entitled “Heart of the Matter: Minimizing Disease Risk to Optimize Diabetes Care” organized by Zuellig Pharma Corporation, cardiologist Dr. Jorge Sison, explained that diabetes patients are just as vulnerable to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
According to the latest report released by the World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. The cases are rapidly increasing in low-middle income countries, “like the Philippines,” Dr. Jorge said.
Recent data from the International Diabetes Federation also showed that one in 14 Filipino adults lives with the chronic health condition.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and 85 percent of all deaths are due to heart attack and stroke. CVD
is also the most common complication of diabetes. The risk level for CVD is the same for patients with diabetes and those with a history of myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Proper diet and exercise can always keep the disease at bay. And to fully understand the risks and complications of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Dr. Sison discussed several levels of prevention.
If one is able to maintain proper weight, avoid smoking, and engage in regular physical activity then primordial prevention of the disease is achieved. The risk factors were inhibited because prior measures were performed.
Unfortunately, diet and exercise are not always prioritized especially during this pandemic. People are more anxious and so they are eating too much junk food. Because of the lockdown, physical movement is limited and most of them are just glued to their gadget all day. Over time, the lack of exercise and unhealthy eating can lead to risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or metabolic syndrome, (obesity with increased blood pressure, blood sugar, and high cholesterol). For someone with risk factors, cardiovascular disease can still be avoided with primary prevention this involves complete lifestyle change together with proper medication.
The final phase may seem quite alarming because it pertains to those who have suffered from coronary artery diseases like heart attack, heart failure, and other cardiovascular complications. Dr. Sison calls it secondary prevention, “the main focus here is to prevent recurrence, we prevent the heart attack from happening again with medication and lifestyle change.”
Aside from Cardiovascular disease, diabetes can also damage kidney blood vessels, which can eventually lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Despite the possible complications, Dr. Sison is optimistic that with the right approach it can be properly managed.
One way to manage complications is to raise awareness about the disease. Zuellig Pharma Corporation (ZPC), through its commercialization arm, ZP Therapeutics, plans to hold educational discussions and academic opportunities to strengthen awareness on significant health topics.
“We believe that raising awareness about the disease and the ways we can manage its complications is the first step in making diabetes care more accessible. Specifically, we advocate for primary CV prevention, and will continue to work towards ramping up our education efforts on this issue to help provide patient-centered diabetes care in the country,” said Dr. Philip Nakpil, Medical Director of ZP Therapeutics.
“Our advocacy aligns well with the gradual transition to preventive care. Working with key players in the country’s healthcare ecosystem, we envision helping more Filipinos living with diabetes take a more proactive approach in managing their condition,” he added.