Knowing your risks for diabetes

    The dangers of diabetes might be underplayed by many but this lifestyle disease can wreak havoc on one’s body if uncontrolled. More worrisome, diabetes and its complications lead to a significant number of deaths yearly. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), as of May 2020, the total cases of diabetes in adults in the country are at 3.9 million. In 2016 alone, the number of deaths due to diabetes in the Philippines was around 33,000 (male and female ages 30-70), and the number of deaths due to high blood glucose was around 55,000 in the same age group.

    The numbers paint a worrisome picture of the risks but early detection, diagnosis, treatment, plus the familiarity of risk factors are vital for better management of this global disease.

    Pharma company Novo Nordisk Philippines has come up with a Diabetes Risk Assessment tool, created in partnership with the Quezon City Lions Club. This can be accessed conveniently online. The survey helps patients assess their diabetes risk, help prevent its onset by addressing risks that are modifiable and avoidable, get the proper diagnosis and understand the type of diabetes they have, and ultimately get treatment and management tools.

    Dr. Cecilia Jimeno, an endocrinologist from the University of the Philippines and Philippine General Hospital, this survey was made specifically considering the standard guidelines applicable to Filipinos, with the goal of helping people become aware of their diabetes risks.

    Answers of yes to 3 or more of the questions in the survey indicate a risk of diabetes.

    “This survey is not meant for individuals who are already diagnosed with diabetes. This is meant for people who might be unaware of the risk factors that make them susceptible to the disease. With this survey tool, we hope to make people more aware of this disease and have it detected as early as possible. Most of the patients come in when there are already complications and these can be difficult to manage. It is better to prevent these complications rather than treat them,” she said.

    As a chronic illness that typically has no cure, diabetes can come with many consequences, including heart disease and stroke. If left untreated, there can be more debilitating complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart failure, loss of a limb, and reduced life expectancy. Some risk factors, especially for type 2 diabetes, include family history, race, age, and depression.

    Through the online assessment, patients with high diabetes risk may be diagnosed earlier with proper consultation and communication with their doctors. As for people with low to moderate risk, they may prevent the onset of diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle combined with regular medical consultation. For patients who are diagnosed earlier, they will be able to receive early treatment and optimize their diabetes control to prevent and/or delay complications. The Diabetes Risk Assessment survey can be accessed through