If the results of the periodic surveys commissioned by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute and the Department of Science and Technology are any indication, then Filipinos are headed to a not so healthy future.
According to the National Nutrition and Health Survey, one in every four Filipino adults now suffers from high blood pressure; five in every 100 Filipinos now exhibited high fasting blood sugar (a risk for developing diabetes); while one in every 10 Filipino adults now has high total cholesterol level.
“The bad news is that these numbers are getting worse considering that the survey done in 2003 and again in 2008 has shown an increasing pattern,” noted Dr. Tommy Ty-Willing, chair and president of Diabetes Philippines.
He also reported that the number of Filipinos with high blood pressure have risen—from 22.5 percent in 2003 to 25.3 percent in 2008. What is more alarming is that 11 in every 100 (or 10.8 percent) of the population are already showing signs that they are headed to this condition that can eventually lead to damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
Even the number of those with high fasting blood sugar have also risen—from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 4.8 percent in 2008.
Another alarming trend is that one in every 10 Filipinos already have high total cholesterol levels, while 21 in every 100 are borderline high. Furthermore, 15 in every 100 already have high triglyceride level (a type of fat found in the blood that is a strong independent predictor of a person’s risk for stroke) while 16 in every 100 are borderline high.
When the survey done in 2003 and 2008 were compared, they showed that Filipinos with low levels of good cholesterol levels in their blood increased from 54.2 percent to 64.1 percent. In contrast, the prevalence of Filipinos’ high levels of bad cholesterol remains unchanged: from 11.7 percent in 2003 to 11.8 percent in 2008.
“Tackling one of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome is tough—taking on all of them might seem overwhelming. But aggressive lifestyle changes can improve all of the metabolic syndrome components,” Ty-Willing explained.
According to him, metabolic syndrome is a clustering of conditions—increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels-that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
“Having just one of these conditions is not diagnosed as metabolic syndrome, but it does contribute to your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk becomes even greater,” Ty Willing warned.
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