The fight against Type 2 Diabetes continues

Meet Johnny, a middle-aged employee who has a busy life with no room for complications. He has been taking medications since he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes few years ago but he is now starting to lose his battle against glycaemic control and for the first time his blood glucose is higher than 7.0 percent.

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a serious, lifelong disease and is a disorder of metabolism — the way our body uses the food we eat for growth and energy. Most of the food we consume is broken down to glucose, the main form of sugar in the blood.

Glucose is our body’s primary energy source. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream where it is used by cells for growth and energy. Insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, must be present in order for glucose to get into our cells. When we eat, the pancreas produces the right amount of insulin to act as carriers to deliver glucose to our cells.

In people with diabetes, the pancreas produces either little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin being produced.  Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine and passes out of the body, thus, the body loses its main energy fuel.  The cause of diabetes continues to be investigated, and both genetic and environmental factors such as obesity and sedentary lifestyle appear to play a role.

Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body and may lead to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage.

Patients like Johnny are in need of extra help, and gladly, people at AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb have introduced the new DPP-4 inhibitor saxagliptin, a prescription medicine for type 2 diabetes mellitus to improve glycemic control in combination with other prescription such as metformin as an intial combination therapy, paired with diet and exercise.

For people like Johnny, the risk of developing diabetes complications such as kidney failure, heart order lexapro without rx attack and stroke among others run high.  It is a sad fact that more than half of Filipino patients with type 2 diabetes are unable to achieve optimal blood sugar control with their lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise, thus requiring additional medications.

“Saxagliptin is a welcome addition to the current range of oral anti-diabetes drugs and can help provide that added control some patients may need,” said Dr. Leilani Mercado-Asis, President of Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In a country such as the Philippines, with its growing population, the ratio of type 2 diabetes is around seven to one, so given that our country has 92 million inhabitants, people with type 2 diabetes can be pegged somewhere between 5.5 to 6.5 million, a very scary number.

According to Dr. Araceli Panelo, executive director of UERMMMC-Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation (ISDF), the management of diabetes is now much better compared to the last decades.

“With the increased awareness for disease prevention and the importance of lifestyle change, patients are now better informed and really work towards improving their diabetes condition,” said Dr. Panelo.

For people at risk of developing diabetes complications, the key is to keep blood sugar levels within the normal parameters. Saxagliptin belongs to a novel class of oral anti-diabetec drugs called DPP-4 inhibitors. DPP-4 is an enzyme that inactivates the natural hormones in the body called incretin.

Incretins decrease elevated blood sugar or glucose by increasing the body’s utilization of sugar, mainly through increasing insulin production in the pancreas, and by reducing the liver’s production of glucose.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved saxagliptin in July 2009 based on results of clinical studies involving 5,000 patients, more than 4,000 of whom received saxagliptin while the remaining participants received placebos.

This new type 2 diabetes drug has been approved by FDA Philippines in May 2010.  Astra Zeneca is the sole marketing company for saxagliptin in the Philippines.  And for patients like Johnny, extra help is at hand in his fight to reach glycemic goals.

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