Q: I recently heard over the radio that the number of Filipinos who are diagnosed with diabetes has been increasing during the last few years? Is this true? What has caused this increase? --Jun de V., Iloilo City
A: Yes its true, the incidence of diabetes is on the upsurge not only in the Philippines but worldwide. A team of researchers who worked in collaboration with the World Health Organization and whose findings were recently published in the reputable medical journal The Lancet has found out that the number of adults with diabetes mellitus worldwide has doubled since 1980 to 347 million. This number is strikingly higher than previous projections that put the number of diabetics at 285 million worldwide.
Seventy percent of the rise in diabetes cases worldwide can be attributed to the increase in the world's population and in the average lifespan of people (advancing age is a risk factor for diabetes). But the other 30 percent can be attributed to two factors only: Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
Diabetes mellitus is caused either by the failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin or inability of the cells of the body to respond appropriately to insulin, or both. Insulin is a substance that allows glucose (sugar) in blood to enter the cells of the body. The cells utilize glucose as their main energy source for their various metabolic activities. In diabetes, glucose is unable to enter the cells thus it builds up in blood while at the same time, the cells literally starve.
There are two main types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 & type 2. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all cases of diabetes. It usually occurs in people above 30 years of age. Initially, people with this type of diabetes produce enough insulin, but for unknown reasons, the cells do not respond appropriately to it. Subsequently, over a period of years, insulin production by the pancreas decreases. …