Aon Health & Wellbeing Conversation #4
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives to date, and those with comorbidities were observed to be the most susceptible to the virus. Statistics indicate that one of the most common illnesses among those infected with the Covid-19 virus is diabetes.
Diabetes is among the top ten deadliest diseases in the world. Each year, millions of people die from it and over the past few decades, the annual figures have risen year on year. Diabetes is now prevalent across income levels and ages. With the rise in childhood obesity rates, diabetes affects thousands of children across the world.
According to the International Diabetes Federation1
, 163 million adults between the ages of 20 to 79 are living with diabetes in the Western Pacific region − four million of whom are from the Philippines.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to process blood sugar efficiently. The glucose then stays in the body, causing multiple complications when the condition remains unmanaged.
There are two types of chronic diabetes conditions. Type 1 is when the body produces little or no insulin. Type 2 is when the body does not appropriately respond to insulin. There are also two reversible conditions, one which is called prediabetes where blood sugar level is above normal but has not reached that of one classified as diabetic, and the other, gestational diabetes which happens when a pregnant woman registers elevated blood sugar levels.
Taking the appropriate blood tests is the best way to detect the disease as some people may be asymptomatic and not know that they are already suffering from it.
- Cardiovascular diseases and hypertension
- Eye diseases including blindness
- Renal diseases, which can lead to kidney failure
- Nerve and muscular damage, which leads to problems with digestion, erectile dysfunction, and amputation of extremities
- Oral complications, such as periodontitis leading to loss of teeth
- Complications in pregnancy, such as damage to the internal organs of the fetus; overweight infants resulting in difficulties during delivery causing trauma for both mother and child; infants experiencing a sudden drop of blood sugar levels after birth and exposure to higher risks of diabetes development in the future.
How to Manage the Condition and Be Worry-Free?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for diabetes. While supplements are available, to live worry-free, lifestyle and self-management is the key. So, patients must practice healthy habits to manage the condition.
The following are some of the ways to help diabetics:
- Regularly check and track your blood sugar levels by logging test results, medications taken, activities, illnesses, and food, particularly carbohydrates
- Take maintenance drugs even when you are feeling good
- Have a sustainable exercise plan to maintain your weight Anything excessive and repetitive affects your wellbeing
- Eat a balanced diet and ensure to eat at least three times a day at regular intervals
- Quit smoking and avoid alcohol intake. (Excessive alcohol may cause sugar levels to drop posing problems for Type 1 patients. Other alcoholic beverages may contain carbohydrates that cause the rise of blood sugar levels, posing problems for Type 2 patients.)
- Avoid stress, relax, and always have a happy vibe. Remember, stress causes blood sugar to rise and makes you less sensitive to insulin.