Unhealthy lifestyle can cause premature death
() - August 26, 2004 - 12:00am
Over the next years, unhealthy lifestyle will be one of the leading causes of premature deaths, especially among Americans, a study says.

Results of the study which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that unhealthy habits such as smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity account for 39 percent of deaths in the United States.

According to James Marks, one of the researchers of the study, these practices will be the leading causes of death if people don’t modify their lifestyle.

The situation in the Philippines is not different from the US. Why? Filipinos have embraced the Western culture and they just love to imitate the American lifestyle.

Dr. Joy Fontanilla, an endocrinology consultant at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, said, "Urbanization has led to a culture of overeating and under-exercising‚ and hence, a ballooning epidemic of obesity."

"Excessive calorie intake, coupled with couch-potato lifestyle, may result in obesity and diabetes. Genetic predisposition is another factor that can lead to type 2 diabetes," she said.

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease associated with high levels of glucose in the bloodstream (hyperglycemia). It is a disease with serious complications such as damage to the eyes, limbs, kidney and heart.

It is, indeed, good news that effective treatment modalities are now available for the management of diabetes, like a combination therapy. According to Fontanilla, in the old days, management of diabetes was limited to insulin and oral medications such as the sulfonylureas.

"Sulfonylureas cause your pancreas to secrete more insulin. Eventually, since diabetes is a progressive disease, the pancreas gets exhausted and can no longer produce insulin. By that time, sulfonylureas would no longer be effective. You would be left with insulin as the only alternative treatment," she said.

In the last decade, more medications to combat diabetes have become available.

The development of a two-in-one drug combining rosiglitazone which saves the pancreas from expiration and metformin which helps prevent the liver from putting out too much sugar, is a boon.

"These medications can complement each other. When given together, they can produce greater reductions in blood sugar than when given alone," said Fontanilla.

The combination of rosiglitazone and metformin has been proven in several clinical trials. The EMPIRE (Escalation of Metformin versus the Initiation of Rosiglitazone Early) study showed that more patients reached their targeted blood sugar levels with the early addition of rosiglitazone to metformin than those who are receiving the maximum dose of metformin alone.

Together with diet and exercise, combination therapy will greatly help patients in achieving their target blood sugar levels. But most importantly, combination therapy will help them avoid the serious complications that come with the disease.

Patients with type 2 diabetes should consult their doctors to learn more about new treatments that could potentially put a stop to the progression of their disease.

ASIAN HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER DIABETES DISEASE DR. JOY FONTANILLA ESCALATION OF METFORMIN FONTANILLA INITIATION OF ROSIGLITAZONE EARLY JAMES MARKS JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION UNITED STATES
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