‘Do you have diabetes or do the ants know better?’

This is why they chose the theme, “Mabuti pa ang Langgam, alam… Diabetes: Laban natin ito” (The ants are better. They know. Diabetes: This is our fight) for the public forum on July 22, Ferrer said. The forum, organized by the DMC’s Diabetes Education and Treatment Clinic is the culminating activity of the Diabetes Awareness Week from July 16 to 22.

Diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar level is higher than normal. Ants are a good lead in determining if a person is diabetic because the urine of a diabetic person attracts ants.

Considered a "silent killer disease," diabetes is the seventh highest cause of death in the country and among the top five causes of morbidity.

Diabetes is affecting some 3.3 million out of  80 million Filipinos. At high risk are those who come from families with history of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

A person who has diabetes, Ferrer said, is like someone who just had a heart attack. He said the disease could bring about more complications to a person's health like heart and kidney diseases for it brings damage to nerves.

Elena Zapanta, a nurse at the DMC said swollen feet and eye problems are among the common symptoms they have observed at the Diabetes Education and Treatment Clinic where they have an average of 60 patients per week.

The disease afflicts everyone – rich or poor, men or women, employed and unemployed, young and old. “"We  even had a four-year old patient recently," she said.

Considering the high cost of maintenance medicine and medical attention, Ferrer said the best cure to diabetes is still prevention. People should live a healthy lifestyle, lessen stress, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet, avoid bad cholesterol.    

"Have your blood sugar tested so you won't come to the doctor when the symptoms are already prevailing. That would be too late," he stressed.   

Zapanta said the cost of consultation at their clinic is only P50 for first-timers and P30 for succeeding sessions, the cheapest in Davao City. Blood sugar test is at P75. Senior citizens are free of charge while indigents could avail of social welfare subsidy.     

The DMC-organized forum on diabetes starts at 7:30 a.m. The public can ask questions from diabetes experts during the open forum. Registration is P150, inclusive of food. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)