The Fight against Type 2 Diabetes Continues

Manila Bulletin, August 9, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Fight against Type 2 Diabetes Continues


Meet Johnny, a middle-aged employee who has a busy life with no room for complications. He has been taking medications since he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes few years ago but he is now starting to lose his battle against glycaemic control and for the first time his blood glucose is higher than 7.0 percent. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a serious, lifelong disease and is a disorder of metabolism - the way our body uses the food we eat for growth and energy. Most of the food we consume is broken down to glucose, the main form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is our body's primary energy source. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream where it is used by cells for growth and energy. Insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, must be present in order for glucose to get into our cells. When we eat, the pancreas produces the right amount of insulin to act as carriers to deliver glucose to our cells. In people with diabetes, the pancreas produces either little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin being produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine and passes out of the body, thus, the body loses its main energy fuel. The cause of diabetes continues to be investigated, and both genetic and environmental factors such as obesity and sedentary lifestyle appear to play a role. Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body and may lead to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage. Patients like Johnny are in need of extra help, and gladly, people at AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb have introduced the new DPP-4 inhibitor saxagliptin, a prescription medicine for type 2 diabetes mellitus to improve glycemic control in combination with other prescription such as metformin as an intial combination therapy, paired with diet and exercise. For people like Johnny, the risk of developing diabetes complications such as kidney failure, heart attack and stroke among others run high. It is a sad fact that more than half of Filipino patients with type 2 diabetes are unable to achieve optimal blood sugar control with their lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise, thus requiring additional medications. …

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