No. This is not a Valentine’s Day post. But yes. This is about the heart… Our heart.
A few days ago, I attended the official Philippines launch of “For Your SweetHeart” Zoom webinar. This global campaign was made to raise awareness and discuss the critical link between Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
You see, I come from a family with a history of diabetes. During my 2 pregnancies, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Because of that, I have become more careful with the kinds of food I eat. And ever since, I have tried to make it a point to be more active through regular exercise, as well as participating in various fun runs. I also make sure to hydrate and get enough sleep. Prayer is also part of my daily routine. In short, I try to live a healthy lifestyle in order to combat this disease, especially with all that is happening now. In fact, this pandemic has pushed me all the more to become extra watchful over my health.
I take care of my health and well-being not only for myself, but for my family as well. We all benefit from this awareness because we are more conscious now. And with the help of this website – www.foryoursweetheart.ph, I am able to get more information about the correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sabi nga ni Kuya Kim Atienza who, by the way, is the official “For Your Sweetheart” campaign advocate, “Knowledge is power!”
For Your Sweetheart
“For Your SweetHeart” campaign is a nationwide movement spearheaded by Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc. to raise awareness about the critical link between diabetes and heart disease. It also encourages people with diabetes to know their risks and speak to their doctors about it because knowing the link can save your life and the lives of many.
Currently, there are nearly 4 million reported cases of diabetes in the Philippines according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) as of May 2020 and many of these Filipinos living with diabetes do not know of their increased risk for heart diseases. Diabetes, with the presence of its complications, has been identified as a risk factor for increased severity of COVID-19 and poor outcome.
One of the long-term complications of diabetes is cardiovascular disease. According to a follow-up study among patients who participated in the World Health Organization (WHO) Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes, a staggering 52% of deaths in Type 2 Diabetes patients are due to cardiovascular disease—confirming that Type 2 Diabetes is a cardiovascular disease equivalent. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for patients with diabetes.
As the official campaign advocate of For Your Sweetheart, TV Personality Kim “Kuya Kim” Atienza will be the voice in raising awareness about this link.
“The campaign is relevant to me because my grandparents had diabetes, and so does my mother. Like many Filipinos, I can relate to how we always want what is best for the health and well-being of our loved ones. I always check up on my mother and make sure she’s leading a healthy lifestyle,” Kuya Kim stated.
Supported by health experts and patient organizations, the campaign will focus on not only patients but also the caregivers.
“It comes naturally for Filipinos to care for our loved ones. The campaign doesn’t just speak to those diagnosed with diabetes but also to the loved ones taking care of them,” said Dr. Greta Cortez, Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc.’s Head of Medicine.
“Boehringer Ingelheim has always believed in empowering and equipping both the patients and their loved ones with important information so they can make the best decisions together for their health and well-being,” she continued.
Knowing the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease can help patients and those taking care of them to determine meaningful and necessary life-changing steps.
“There are ways to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease for those with diabetes. Being aware of the impact of diabetes on heart health is a critical first step as well as consulting your doctor, so you know the best medical options to manage the disease,” said Dr. Orly Bugarin, President of the Philippine Heart Association and a cardiologist at Twin Hearts Medical Clinic in Balanga, Bataan.
Before the start of the webinar, I sent them my personal question. As I’ve mentioned earlier, diabetes runs in our genes. Here was my question:
I was diagnosed to have Gestational Diabetes back then during my 2 pregnancies (1997 and 2002). Now that I am 43 years old, is there still a risk of me getting diabetes in the future considering that my paternal grandmother and my aunt on the father side have it? Also, is there a high chance that my daughter may experience the same condition?
My question was answered by Dr. Grace Delos Santos, M.D., MS, FPCP, FPSD – President – Diabetes Philippines, Inc.
People who suffer from Gestational Diabetes have a very high risk of developing full blown diabetes in the future maybe 3 – 5 or 7 years if they don’t develop a lifestyle change after they deliver their baby. Regarding the child, right now there are studies that show that if we eat the right thing during childhood, like high fiber, it can develop good bacteria in our intestine and this changes the flora of our bacteria in the intestine and may change our genes. If you start a very good lifestyle early in life (maybe at 2 or 3 years old) – exercise, eating the right food, you may be able to prevent diabetes even if you have a very strong family history of diabetes. Prevention is very important but you have to start very early in life.Dr. Grace Delos Santos, M.D., MS, FPCP, FPSD – President – Diabetes Philippines, Inc.
As the proverbial saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Let us take care of our body, inform our family so we can get support, talk to your doctor, seek consultation, get proper information, and don’t let fear get in the way.
Even if you are diabetic, you can still live a normal life as long as you take care of yourself and prevent the complications of diabetes. Don’t lose hope. So let us help spread the gospel of awareness of diabetes.
You can visit www.foryoursweetheart.ph for more information about the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The website includes an assessment tool based on the Framingham 10-year Heart Disease Risk Test, which requires details of the patient’s total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.
The “For Your SweetHeart” campaign is supported by the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation Inc. (ISDFI), American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), Philippine Society of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM), Diabetes Philippines (DP), Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators (PADE), Association of Diabetes Nurse Educators of the Philippines, Inc. (ADNEP), and Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO).