While staying at home is still one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus, it has also made more Filipinos susceptible to a sedentary lifestyle that could eventually pose a danger to one’s overall health, including an increased risk of diabetes.
According to data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reveals that in 2020 alone, nearly 4 million Filipinos are afflicted with diabetes. One of the long-term complications of diabetes is cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 52 percent of deaths among people with Type 2 diabetes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes. What is even more alarming is that many of those living with diabetes do not know of this critical link between diabetes and heart disease.
To address this knowledge gap, the “For Your SweetHeart” campaign spearheaded by Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc., in partnership with medical societies and patient groups, was recently launched to increase awareness among Filipinos about the deadly connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Part of the “For Your SweetHeart” campaign urges Filipinos to get moving and exercise amid home quarantine with an activity dubbed as “Healthy Heart At Home,” an online fitness class conducted by top fitness coaches Jim and Toni Saret. The heart-pumping, low-impact cardio online class, is designed to share key information to the general public about Type 2 diabetes and heart disease connection using a more fun, interactive, and engaging approach.
Prior to the fitness class, TV personality and “For Your SweetHeart” campaign ambassador Kim “Kuya Kim” Atienza, together with Dr. Ayi Faller, President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists – Philippine Chapter, shared more details about the campaign.
“It’s a cause close to my heart because my mom is living with Type 2 diabetes. There is a need for extra care and caution when it comes to her diet and lifestyle. As her son, I always remind her to take care of her health as well as the need for regular visits to the doctor,” Kuya Kim disclosed in a special video message.
For her part, Dr. Ayi Faller briefly shared facts about the critical link between Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“Patients with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to the heart and ultimately raising blood pressure levels. Diabetes also increases the level of bad cholesterol. All of these factors increase the risk of heart disease in patients with diabetes,” Dr. Ayi Faller explained.
The event also introduced wwww.foryoursweetheart.ph, a website where patients can learn more about the campaign. The website includes helpful articles on diabetes and heart disease management and an assessment tool based on the Framingham 10-year Heart Disease Risk Test, which requires details of the patient’s total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.
Coaches Jim and Toni then led the fitness class featuring low-impact cardio exercise routines that can be easily done at home with loved ones.
“The most important thing is to keep your body moving to keep elevated blood sugar and its complications at bay,” Coach Jim said.
“And to have fun while at it!” Coach Toni added.
The “For Your SweetHeart” campaign is supported by the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation Inc. (ISDFI), American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), Philippine Society of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM), Diabetes Philippines (DP), Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators (PADE), Association of Diabetes Nurse Educators of the Philippines, Inc. (ADNEP), and Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO).
 Morrish NJ, et al. Diabetologia 2001; 44 (suppl2): S14-S21.
 The Framingham risk score estimates the risk of developing heart disease within a 10-year period and is seen to help individuals determine if the presence of any risk factor would require appropriate medical attention. The results are not meant to take the place of a medical examination.