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Diabetes prevalence rising in Phl

Since 2008, the prevalence of diabetes was still low but it grew to 5.2% among adult population in 2013 and further grew up to 7.1% in 2017, and still growing.

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Photo by Reynaldo Vicente

The prevalence of diabetes, a disease in which glucose levels in the blood are too high, has been rising rapidly in the Philippines, according to Dr. Mia Fojas, president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM).

“Since 2008, the prevalence of diabetes was still low but it grew to 5.2% among adult population in 2013 and further grew up to 7.1% in 2017, and still growing. Besides, the number of persons who are on pre-diabetes stage, or when blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, is also growing. Obesity cases, which lead to diabetes, are also increasing among children and in females. Obviously, everything is growing,” said Fojas.

Being Filipino, in itself, is a risk factor for diabetes. “Diabetes is a family affair. It’s more on the lifestyle,” Fojas said, explaining that in the family, especially among mothers, the role of women in the control of diabetes is very important. Everything starts in the mother. Mother is the one who cooks for the family so it’s more of a family thing. You live under one roof. You eat the same stuff. You probably have the same lifestyle.”

To avoid the risk of acquiring diabetes, it is required for persons 40 years old and above to undergo screening for diabetes among Filipinos because being a Filipino is a risk factor, and for obesity and not just the body mass index. Waist circumference for women should be 80 centimeters (cms.) while 90 cms. for men, according to Fojas.

Other risk factors for diabetes include if you were previously diagnosed of having psychiatric problems, schizophrenia, or if you have history of gestation of diabetes which gives you a higher chance of developing diabetes in 10 to 20 years. Having irregular menstruation and polycystic syndrome are also risk factors for the disease.

Common symptoms of diabetes include a thirst mechanism that you need to drink water because of increased urination at night, urinary tract infection (UTI), blurred vision, itchiness, fatigue, and sudden weight loss.

Photo by @rawpixel from Unsplash.com

To prevent the onset of diabetes, Fojas advises that lifestyle modification is very important. However, there are lifestyle modifications that are hard or cannot be carried out. In this case, you can take medicines such as Metformin or Acarbose that are proven to prevent the start of developing diabetes. You have to quit sweets and even sweet fruits; lessen on carbohydrates; and lessening lifestyle modalities that need modifications, and exercise.

“We should also look at healthy choices and one benefit of being educated about diabetes is we have the chance to look at other alternatives instead of what we have used to do within the family,” said Dr. Yolanda Robles, Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) president. “Like in the choice of food, we have the so-called complex carbohydrates, and simple carbohydrates which are easily converted into sugar.

Once a person is afflicted with diabetes, he should learn to recognize and accept that he has the disease, advised Fojas. She also said patients with diabetes should be told that there is the possibility of remission in diabetes, that it can be controlled if it was diagnosed early. In case of late diagnosis, diabetes can also be controlled and it does not have to lead to dialysis, blindness, heart attack, or amputation. It should not lead to these instances as there are drugs now available to help diabetics.

Fojas also said a lot of patients with diabetes who are in insulin can be stopped from using it to relax their pancreas but discipline is highly needed. There is hope for diabetics but they have to be diagnosed early and have discipline. She added that diabetes is a family affair so when you see a diabetic, you should orient his family about the disease and its control. There are a lot of new medications that can be used to control diabetes.

Fojas noted that complications due to soaring blood glucose are highly preventable at a certain point in time but the problem is the lack of education and awareness about the disease. Besides, there are patients who do not want to be informed that they have the disease. If the disease was diagnosed later, the bigger the problem would be so diabetes must be recognized early to be controlled and not lead to any complications.

It is also important to work with pharmacists for educational purposes. Mercury Drug Corporation has launched last August the Get Well at Mercury Drug Diabetes Cure, a diabetes specialty corner boasts of a complete assortment of products needed by patients with diabetes. It is manned by the drug company’s trained pharmacists who are able to provide services such as basic patient counseling on diabetes management and demonstrations on the proper use of devices which diabetics can avail for free.

REYNALDO “Rey” R. VICENTE’s career experience involves mostly research in publishing companies. He previously held the position of Research and Events Director of Media G8way Corp., publisher of Computerworld Philippines (CWP), PC World Philippines, and IT Resource. He also handled events organized for CWP. Prior to this, he was a Research Head of a business publication. Now as co-publisher of Zest Magazine, Rey also serves as Managing Editor. Rey finished his bachelor’s degree majoring in Economics at the University of Santo Tomas.

Health

Self-care for sick days

To help navigate this cough, cold and flu season, consider these tips.

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Cooler weather inevitably means cough, cold and flu season isn’t far behind. Now is the time to take precautions and set yourself up with healthy habits.

“As much as we try, avoiding viruses, bacteria and germs to prevent getting sick can be a challenge,” Dr. Tim Tiutan, MD, said. “However, being prepared with the right remedies, listening to your body and its symptoms and remaining diligent with a healthy routine is just as important as treating symptoms head on.”

To help navigate this cough, cold and flu season, consider these tips from Tiutan and the experts at Mucinex.

Prepare and Prevent
You won’t find a foolproof way to keep germs away, but you can lessen your chances of getting sick and make sure you’re equipped to weather an illness.

  • Practice healthy habits. Keeping your body in prime condition can help ensure you’re in the best condition possible to fight back when germs attack. That means keeping up with exercise and ensuring you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients through a well-balanced diet.
  • Get a flu shot. The flu shot gives your body a head start in fighting back against flu bugs. If you’re exposed to the flu after receiving the shot, your body can immediately go on the offensive against those germs. You may not stay completely symptom-free, but you’re more likely to experience a mild case and be back on your feet quicker.
  • Restock the medicine cabinet. The start of cough, cold and flu season is an ideal time to dig through your medicine cabinet. Start by discarding any medications that are out of date and make a list of anything you need to replenish. Be sure to include pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, antihistamines and cough syrups to fight symptoms. It’s also a good time to restock items like tissues, cough drops, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap.

Treat Symptoms
Although the flu can hit fast, it’s often hard to tell at first whether your symptoms are due to a simple cough, cold or a case of the flu. Either way, managing symptoms like a cough can bring relief and help you keep comfortable and get plenty of rest.

  • Give your body time to heal. Sleep plays an important role in your overall health, especially when you’re under the weather. On average, you need 7-9 hours each night to give your body enough time to fully recharge. When you’re sick, you likely need even more, and it’s a good idea to dial back your activity level, too. Pushing your physical limits often only delays your recovery time.
  • Take medications as directed. Nagging symptoms can often keep you from getting the sleep you need. One way to give your body the break it needs is to effectively manage symptoms. A hacking cough is a common symptom that can be painful and disrupt your sleep. Consider an option like Mucinex DM 12-Hour, a cough suppresent which relieves chest congestion and thins and loosens mucus, giving you an extended reprieve. It’s clinically proven to last up to 12 hours, provides relief for chest congestion and makes coughs more productive.

Prevent Spread
Getting sick may be beyond your complete control, but you can take steps to protect others from germs when you’re feeling ill.

  • Keep germs to yourself. Washing your hands often, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and sneezing into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue are simple ways you can limit the spread of germs, especially within your home or workspace. Frequently wiping down high-touch surfaces can also help reduce the spread of germs.
  • Skip socializing. If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home. Even a mild cold can easily spread, and an illness that affects you mildly could cause significant distress for someone else. Avoid unnecessary errands and take advantage of services like curbside pickup if you must get out. Also check with your employer about working remotely if you’re up to it.

Cold vs. Flu
There’s a lot of overlap between cold and flu symptoms, so it can be tricky to figure out whether the bug you’re fighting is a cold or influenza and how to tackle it.

While both the common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses, they are not caused by the same viruses. Although colds are inconvenient, they are far less likely to develop into anything more serious, as the flu can.

What is a Cold?
Generally, colds are milder than the flu, and more likely to cause runny or stuffy noses (while the flu can cause stuffy or runny noses, it’s less likely to do so). You won’t feel good, but you’ll probably be able to do some or all of your daily tasks. The flu typically hits harder, making it difficult to go to work or follow your usual routine.

What is the Flu?
The flu often feels worse than a cold; you might experience the same symptoms but amplified. The flu comes with more pain and fever than a cold. Common flu symptoms include sore throat, chills, fever, runny or stuffy nose, muscle fatigue or aches and headaches. The flu can also develop into more serious conditions and complications, making it more dangerous than the average cold. While the common cold is rarely serious, the flu can be dangerous for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

Treating a Cold vs. Flu
You can be vaccinated against the flu. There is no such vaccine for common colds. If your provider recommends it, getting the flu vaccine each year can go a long way toward preventing sickness.

Whether you have a cold or the flu, symptom relief is largely the same. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms. Stay home to avoid spreading sickness. Wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Watch for shortness of breath, chest or abdomen pain, confusion, sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting and flu symptoms that improve then return with fever and worse cough. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor.

Find more ways to stay healthy and limit symptoms by visiting Mucinex.com.

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Health

5 Tips For Proper Oral Care

It’s crucial that you practice proper oral care, by following these habits.

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They’re incredibly important, yet so many people take them for granted—our teeth. A healthy smile is an important part of your overall health since your teeth are such an important and useful part of your body.

It’s crucial that you practice proper oral care, by following these habits.

Always Brush Before Bed

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth three times a day to ensure you remove harmful buildup. However, not everyone manages to make it to three, which isn’t the end of the world. Yet, if there’s one of these three brushing times that you absolutely can’t get away with skipping, it’s nighttime.

At night, your teeth have all of the food that you ate throughout the day, and also germs that cause bad breath. When you go to bed without brushing you’re allowing all of that to sit on your teeth for the duration of however long you sleep, which is usually about 8 hours. Yuck!

Visit Your Dentist

Brushing your teeth daily is already a great step towards overall tooth health. However, there are some things that a toothbrush simply can’t do. It’s important that you see a dentist regularly to get cleanings and address dental issues.

Sometimes despite our best efforts to brush, we still develop cavities. Unfortunately, this is just the way things are. A dentist can help us identify these cavities, and fill them as soon as possible so they don’t turn into something more serious like a root canal.

Floss

Despite having the best toothbrush on the market, there are crevices and cracks in your mouth that even the best toothbrush can’t touch. In addition to brushing, you should make sure that you floss.

Flossing won’t just reduce your risk of developing cavities, but it can significantly improve your breath. There are all sorts of germs and bacteria lurking in between your teeth, and flossing can get rid of that. If you notice that your breath still isn’t entirely fresh even after brushing, then pull out the floss and you’ll notice a big difference.

Avoid Sugar

There are plenty of things that are less than ideal for your health. However, most health professionals agree that one of the worst things for you is sugar and your dentist feels the same. The less sugar you eat, the healthier your teeth will be, as sugar eats away at your tooth enamel.

If you do eat sugar, make sure that you brush your teeth after. One of the worst things you can do is eat sticky candy which leaves behind residue on your teeth and is the perfect recipe for cavities.

Avoid Acidic Foods

In addition to sugary foods, acidic foods are also your teeth’s worst enemy. From coffee to citrus fruits, limit the number of acidic beverages and foods you consume, and your tooth enamel will greatly thank you for it!

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Health

Tips for walking 20,000 steps a day

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.

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Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash.com

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few tips to help you reach your goal:

Invest in a Good Pair of Shoes

The first step to walking 20,000 steps a day is to make sure you have the right equipment. Investing in a good pair of walking shoes will help to prevent blisters and injuries, and make the walk more comfortable overall.

Make Walking Part of Your Daily Routine

To reach your 10-mile goal every day, make walking a part of your daily routine. This might mean taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from where you’re going so that you have to walk more. You can also try waking up a few minutes earlier each morning to fit in a walk before you start your day.

Join a Walking Group

If you’re having trouble finding time to fit in 10 miles each day, consider joining a walking group or taking part in a local 5k race. This will help keep you motivated and provide social support along the way.

Start Small

Don’t try to walk 20,000 steps all at once. Start with a smaller goal, such as 5,000 steps per day, and gradually increase your mileage as you become more fit. This will help you avoid injury and burnout.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure to stay hydrated while walking by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will help you feel more energized and prevent dehydration-related issues, such as muscle cramps or fatigue.

The Bottom Line – BetterMe Can Help You Walk More, Every Day

If you’re looking to improve your overall health, walking 20,000 steps a day can help. This simple form of exercise offers a host of health benefits, from improved sleep and digestion to reduced stress and anxiety. To reach your goal, use the BetterMe Blog as a guide and stay committed every day. With enough dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and transform your body for the better.

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