Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press ( for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Updates: I'll start my lifestyle check with this

[From this coverage I have resolved at least two things 1) Cut on bad cholesterol by 50 percent (made a list of food in which I execute this) and 2) Exercise for at least 20 minutes (Dr. Roy Ferrer of DMC says at least 30 minutes but I want this to be realistic and solemn. So I made an action plan.) I hope the stress part and lifestyle check is adressed initially.]

'Do you have Diabetes or the ants know better?'
By Walter I. Balane/ MindaNews (First draft)

DAVAO CITY – More people are suffering diabetes without them knowing it, diabetes expert Dr. Roy Ferrer of the government-run Davao Medical Center said in a press conference Monday announcing a forum on diabetes to mark the Diabetes Awareness Week on July 16-22.

"Mabuti pa ang Langgam, alam …DIABETES: Laban natin to" (The ants are better for they know, Diabetes: This is our fight.) is the theme of the forum on July 22 organized by DMC's Diabetes Education and Treatment Clinic.

Ferrer, a diabetologist, said most patients only notice and take the disease seriously when they already experience complications. At that stage, he said, it won't be easy and would be more expensive for them.

Diabetes, considered as a "silent killer disease" is the seventh highest cause of death in the country, Ferrer said, and is also among the top five causes of morbidity.

Ferrer cited a 4.2 percent prevalence rate of Diabetes and is affecting around 3.3 million of the 80 million Filipinos. He said among those at high risk are those who come from families with history of diabetes, hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases.

A person who has diabetes, Ferrer said, is like someone who just had a heart attack. He said the disease could being about more complications to a person's health like heart and kidney diseases for it brings damage to nerves.

Mrs. Elena Zapanta, a nurse at the DMC said swollen feet and eye problems are among the common symptoms they have observed at the Diabetes Education and Treatment Clinic where they have an average of 60 patients per week and are attending to at least 2,000 walk-in patients.

He said those are only the micro-nerve symptoms, as the person takes longer to address it, the disease brings about the macro-nerve symptoms which ills the heart and kidneys.

The disease afflicts all kinds of people, Zapanta said, with patients from the rich and poor, men and women, professionals and unemployed, and young and old.

"We even have a four-year old patient recently," she said as she stressed that the diseases chooses no one.

Ferrer cited that being in the Asia Pacific region which is a catch basin for diabetes, being a Filipino itself already puts people at risk to the disease.

With the high cost of maintenance medicine and medical attention, Ferrer said the cure to diabetes is prevention. People should live a healthy lifestyle, Ferrer said, lessen stress, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet avoiding bad cholesterol.

"Have your blood sugar tested so you won't come to the doctor in a stage when the symptoms are already prevailing. That would be too late," he stressed.

Ferrer also warned the public to be careful on altering prescribed medicines on diabetes with herbal supplements advertised as if they could treat the disease. There is no assurance that they are effective, he said. With no intensive research on its effect to the body, Ferrer said, the supplements, could worsen the disease and may cause the patient more instead of saving. He advised the public to consult a physician on diabetes.

Zapanta said their weekly consultation every Tuesday would cost only P50 for first-timers and P30 for succeeding sessions, the cheapest in Davao City and a blood sugar test at only P75. Consultations for senior citizens are free of charge while indigents could avail of social welfare subsidy.

The DMC-organized forum on diabetes this Saturday, with a registration fee of P150 for food, is expected to give more information on diabetes to the public. The topics include the explanation of the disease, its complications and management. The public could also have a chance to ask questions from diabetes experts during an open forum. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)


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