February 1, 2023

Diabetes is likely to affect one in nine people by 2030 if nothing is done to arrest and manage the disease, a health expert warned.
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Endocrinologist, Dr. Domingo Solimen, said this projection by the World Health Organization shows the seriousness of the disease, which has become a pandemic decades before the Covid-19.
At the BGHMC, diabetes ranked second in the cases logged by the Out-Patient Department (OPD) in 2021. It ranked third in terms of admission and ranked sixth in the leading causes of death.
Solimen said the data captured by the OPD could be more since it reflected only those who needed to go for a consultation badly as Covid-19 restrictions were still strict last year, limiting the number of people who could go for OPD consultations.
Citing the data of the International Diabetes Federation, Solimen said the Philippines is one of the countries with the highest number of people with diabetes.
The same data showed the prevalence of diabetes in the country is 7.1 percent or about 4.3 million people living with diabetes, which is projected to increase to 7.8 percent in 2030, and 8.7 percent or 7.5 million people in 2045 if no actions are done.
“We are seeing an increase if we will not arrest this projection. If we do not act now and let the people be aware of the prevention, nearly all will live with diabetes,” Solimen said.
Last year, 2.6 million Filipinos died of diabetes, making it the fourth leading cause of death based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The PSA data showed heart attack and stroke are the first and second causes of death, respectively, but Solimen said diabetes was their main problem.
Globally, he said one person dies of diabetes every five seconds.
To help arrest the increasing number of cases, the WHO targets to diagnose and treat 80 percent of people with diabetes by 2030 and 80 percent of those diagnosed should have a good control of their sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
The WHO also targets 60 percent of people 40 years old and above will receive medicines to manage their cholesterol level and 100 percent of people with Type 1 diabetes should have access to affordable insulin, which is their main treatment for their disease.
For those with Type 2 diabetes, Solimen said the best way to reverse the disease is to alter their lifestyle.
“Type 2 diabetes is not forever. It can be reversed with lifestyle intervention so it will not progress. Those who do a lifestyle change can have their blood sugar levels go back to normal,” Solimen said.
The BGHMC is joining the observance of the World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14 by holding various forums to increase public awareness on diabetes and its management and prevention. – Jane B. Cadalig