Living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) can be tough, requiring consistency, discipline, and a clear plan for achieving the treatment goals that doctors advise patients to pursue. And while standard medication can help get your blood sugar down, this only works if accompanied with lifestyle shifts such as healthy nutrition and physical activity.
“It was never an easy disease to begin with, early intervention comes alongside a deeper understanding of the need for comprehensive solutions for T2DM patients, comprising lifestyle adjustments as well as pharmacological treatment,” says Dr. Bobby Mirasol, Former President of Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) & ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies (AFES).
Recent developments in the treatment of diabetes do however point toward a revolutionary new drug that reduces blood sugar while supporting weight loss and blood pressure reduction. It sounds simple enough on paper, but for the people who have to live through the struggle, the burden just got a whole lot lighter.
A shot at a sweeter life
Dapagliflozin is a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes that prevents the kidneys from absorbing sugar and releases excess glucose through the urine instead. Because of this mechanism, doctors may prescribe it on its own, or as a complementary drug that acts independently of insulin therapy.
In clinical trials, dapagliflozin performed at par with or slightly better than leading diabetes medications. According to the International Journal of Clinical Practice, the results strongly indicate a significant reduction of blood sugar throughout the spectrum of type 2 diabetes.
Available in the Philippines since 2014, dapagliflozin has been used to effectively treat more than 20,000 Filipinos with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Rima Tan, President of Diabetes Philippines, believes that the drug’s far-reaching therapeutic value can give patients a fair shot at a better life.
“Dapagliflozin has been lauded for a reducing blood sugar levels of patients with additional health benefits,” she says. “Patients routinely show weight loss and lower overall blood pressure, which is a great for patients struggling with the lifestyle adjustments necessary for managing type 2 diabetes.”
Patients are expected to maintain these benefits over time, and this allows patients to gradually ease into appropriate lifestyle changes. This generally promises a smoother therapeutic experience that’s both effective and ultimately empowering.
The low-down on diabesity
Interest in dapagliflozin has also been fuelled by the looming threat of diabesity, a comorbidity that is particularly common among Filipinos, and that amplifies the risk of developing complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.
Diabesity is a two-fold struggle that not only deals with type 2 diabetes, but also has a deep-seated relationship with obesity. The two are so closely intertwined that up to 85% of grossly overweight individuals end up developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, which in turn increases the chance of aggravating obesity depending on the type of medication taken.
Doctors however are hopeful that with the dapagliflozin, presently the only available SGLT2 treatment in the market in the Philippines, diabesity can be successfully addressed.
“It’s an uphill battle at first, but with the right support and dedication, diabesity is something we can all beat together,” says Dr.Mirasol. “While it’s amazing that we have a drug that finally addresses these particular facets of the diabetic experience, we should never forget the value of good old-fashioned support.”
A little help from our friends
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is among the biggest supporters of the fight against type 2 diabetes, going all out with the development of holistic diabetic care solutions covering practical health support from doctors, nutritionists, and physical fitness experts along with dapagliflozin treatment.
They have also lobbied for healthier lifestyle changes in patients with T2DM with activities like The Road to a Sweet Life that seek to couple drug treatment with the adoption of positive health habits like proper dieting, and adequate physical activity.
With these available innovative intervention and the multi-stakeholder approach, people with diabetes can now have better quality of life than ever before.
“If you are living with diabetes, it’s important to make choices that keep you and your loved ones healthy,” says Dr. Emmanuel Arca, Associate Medical and Regulatory Affairs Director of AstraZeneca Philippines. “It will take concrete changes in lifestyle to bring great success in managing diabetes.”
For more information, visit www.astrazeneca.com