Latest Stories

Changing Diabetes

How diabetes damages the body


Glucose is a type of sugar that all cells of the body use as fuel. It moves through the blood to different parts of the body at normal levels (5.0-7.7mmol/dl). But if glucose levels are persistently elevated in the bloodstream, it becomes a slow-acting poison killing the body.

When a person has diabetes mellitus, his or her blood glucose levels are high. This condition is called hyperglycemia. The substance or hormone that enables the body’s cells to utilize glucose efficiently is insulin. It is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas.

However in individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus, the pancreas overcompensates and releases excess amounts of insulin, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. Over time, the beta cells are permanently damaged. By the time diabetes mellitus is diagnosed, about 50 percent of beta cells are no longer able to function.

Not only are people with diabetes at increased risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels), but the process also tends to be accelerated, more severe and more widespread in these individuals. Diabetes also contributes to high blood pressure and is linked with high cholesterol.

The persistent hyperglycemia and atherosclerosis cause a multitude of complications associated with diabetes mellitus. These include kidney disease or kidney failure, requiring dialysis; stroke; heart attack; eye damage or blindness; immune system suppression, with increased risk for infections; erectile dysfunction; nerve damage (neuropathy) causing tingling, pain or decreased sensation in the feet, legs and hands; poor circulation to the lower extremities, with poor wound healing and increased risk for amputation.

New-generation medications with novel mechanisms of action have been developed for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. One of these novel treatments is liraglutide. Liraglutide mimics the action of an intestinal hormone called GLP-1 that helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin to move glucose from the blood into the cells. It stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar is too high after meals. GLP-1 also helps lower the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Liraglutide is a once-daily injectable medication for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Liraglutide is prescribed as monotherapy in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. It can also be combined with one or more common oral antidiabetes medications such as metformin, sulfonylureas (e.g., glipizide, glimepiride) or thiazolidinediones (e.g., pioglitazone).

Liraglutide offers several advantages. Aside from its convenient once-a-day dosing, liraglutide provides substantial reduction in HbA1c, a key measure of blood glucose control; has a lower risk of hypoglycemia, abnormally low blood glucose associated with other types of antidiabetes medications, particularly sulfonylureas); results in weight loss, a desirable effect for overweight and obese patients; and requires no dose adjustment for patients with kidney impairment.

By working closely with your doctor, leading a healthy lifestyle and taking the right medications, you can achieve optimal blood glucose control and prevent diabetes-related complications.


CONTEST: What intestinal hormone crucial in blood glucose control does Liraglutide mimic? E-mail your answer to changingdiabetesph@gmail.com and get the chance to win a prize! Congratulations to Ryan Aradillos! Your correct answer to the question in the June 29, 2013 column was chosen as this week’s winner in the Diabetes Trivia Contest. You will receive an e-mail on how to claim your prize.

Dr. Richard Elwyn V. Fernando is a diabetes specialist. The “Changing Diabetes” column commemorates the 92nd anniversary of insulin’s discovery. It aims to increase awareness on diabetes prevention, diagnosis and management. Novo Nordisk supports “Changing Diabetes.” Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. For questions or comments, e-mail changingdiabetesph@gmail.com or follow us at www.facebook.com/ChangingDiabetesPH.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: column , diabetes , health and wellness , Richard Elwyn V. Fernando

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Intrigues mar signing of Bangsamoro draft law
  • Singson apologizes for delay in Edsa road repairs
  • Congressmen seek end to small-town lottery operations
  • 16-year-old survives in wheel well of US flight
  • MMDA to blame for delay of Edsa reblocking – DPWH exec
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace