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Diabetes control: Where it stands now

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In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the IDF created World Diabetes Day (WDD), to be observed every 14th of November, in commemoration of the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered life-saving insulin alongside Charles Best, back in 1921.

The observance is an annual campaign to raise awareness on diabetes as an escalating global threat, affecting millions of people worldwide.

One of the main goals of celebrating WDD is to keep highlighting diabetes as an issue of concern that public stakeholders should pay attention to — until, of course, such a time that diabetes is well-managed worldwide.

The theme for 2021 to 2023 is “Access to Diabetes Care — If Not Now, When?” As in previous years, this event will serve to promote awareness about the importance of increasing access to diabetes care to improve diabetes management, prevent complications, and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes around the world.

Diabetes management drug insulin has been on the WHO List of Essential Medicines since it was first published in 1977. Today, after a century of innovation and continuous improvement to aid the lives of people with diabetes, several types of insulin are available to patients, offering them greater freedom and flexibility.

New developments in diabetes care are reducing the risk of life-threatening complications and alleviating much of the pain and anguish associated with the disease. The addition of long-acting insulin analogues (insulin degludec, detemir and glargine) and their biosimilars to the listing of diabetes medications is seen to improve access to treatment by adding more options.

A key aspect of diabetes care and treatment is the use of insulin drugs. Diabetes complications can be prevented by understanding the role insulin plays in managing your blood sugar.

Different types of insulin control blood sugar in different ways. Your doctor may recommend combining more than one type of insulin, depending on type of diabetes, glucose levels, blood sugar fluctuations, and lifestyle.

In a recent study done in six countries including the Philippines, patients who were started on co-formulation insulin from oral medications showed a decrease of HbA1c by two percent. This denotes better glucose control with insulin therapy, leading to better diabetes management.

“Its main objective is to investigate the effectiveness of insulin on glycemic control in the real-world population of type 2 diabetes patients who have initiated or switched to insulin from previous anti-glycemic treatment according to local clinical practice,” said Dr. Nicole Flor, Novo Nordisk medical manager.

“Being a real-world study, the results are applicable to a broader patient population specifically to Filipino type 2 diabetes patients,” said Dr. Dr. Marsha Tolentino, Perpetual Succor Hospital.

“The population in the study had a mean duration of diabetes for 13 years, with a mean age of 58 years old, with uncontrolled diabetes. This reflects the continuous beta cell decline that occurs with time, and this is observed in the study population,” said Dr. Francis Pasaporte, Fancom Medical Plaza Diagnostics.

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