My hubby got diagnosed with diabetes several weeks ago. He’s only on the borderline but we’ve already been trying to improve his situation by making some lifestyle changes. I really didn’t know much about diabetes and so when I got an invite to attend MSD Usapang Diabetes, I readily confirmed.
The talk was held at Romulo Cafe in Makati last July 14, 2015. The two speakers invited to inform us about diabetes and cardiovascular health were Dr. Mary Anne Lim – Abrahan, MD, FPCP, FPSEDM, Professor, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism from UP-PGH and Dr. Maria Adelaida M. Iboleon-Dy, MD, FPCP, FPCC, FAsCC, Assistant Director and Head of Cardiovascular Medicine, St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City.
The event was organized by MSD, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A.
The talk mainly centered around Type 2 diabetes, which I learned imposes a heavy burden on patients and their families. This means that many things about the patient’s way of life needs to change, and that the host of challenges brought on by the disease will have to be handled head on.
I also learned that the complications of diabetes are serious and costly. Studies show that:
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure (44% of new cases)
- It causes 2- to 4-fold increased risk of cardiovascular death.
- It is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults.
- It causes 2- to 4-fold increased risk of stroke.
- It causes 60% – 70% incidence of nervous system damage.
- It is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations.
What surprised me the most was learning that diabetes is actually a close friend of cardiovascular diseases. This was such a cause of alarm for me because my hubby has already had several instances of having high blood pressure.
Why are people with diabetes at increased risk for cardiovascular disease? Simply because insulin resistance is associated with high blood pressure, obesity and abnormal cholesterol.
Did you know that…
- 2 out of 3 people with diabetes die of heart attack or stroke.
- If you have diabetes, you are 2 to 4 times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than if you do not have diabetes.
- According to CDC, up to 20% of deaths from heart attack and up to 13% of deaths from stroke are related to diabetes.
According to 2009 statistics from the DOH on the Top 10 Causes of Death in the Philippines, 100,908 patients died from diseases of the heart, which is really scary. It has also been predicted that by 2030, the Philippines will rank 9th in the top 10 countries with the most cases of diabetes. The number of Type 2 diabetic Filipinos are continuously increasing.
To help lower the risk for Cardiovascular Disease, the following are recommended:
- Get active – at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 5 times a week
- Control cholesterol – get hold of LDL-C to help your arteries remain blockage-free
- Eat better – track what you eat: fruits, veggies, fiber-rich foods
- Manage blood pressure – reduce salt, manage stress and be active
- Lose weight – especially if a lot of it is at your waist
- Stop smoking – it damages and hardens your arteries
- Reduce blood sugar – each percent drop in HbA1c reduces your risk for CVD
There is, of course, the need to take medications prescribed by doctors. However, there has been some concern about any additional risk that might be posed on the cardiovascular system of Type 2 diabetes patients by anti-diabetes drugs.
With diabetes predisposing a patient to develop cardiovascular disease, drugs that will be made available to control blood sugar must not further contribute to this already elevated risk.
This is why in July 2008, USFDA issued a guidance on cardiovascular risk assessment of new antihyperglycemic medications to treat Type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Cardiovascular safety trials were
required for new anti-diabetic drubs, including DPP-4 inhibitors, to demonstrate that the therapy will not result in an unacceptable increase in CV risk.
Because patients already face a great risk for cardiovascular complications, it is really very important to have safe medicines that do not further alleviate the risk. Patients can rest easy knowing that their medicines are both effective and safe, which makes the disease more manageable for them.
So, for those of you who have Type 2 diabetes or have a family member or friend who does, make sure that their medicines have passed the cardiovascular safety trials.