The Philippines through its various medical societies concerned with the fight against Type II Diabetes Mellitus welcomes the arrival of better Basal Insulin Therapy in the form of Glargine 300 (Toujeo) which promises an even more flatter profile.
But what is Basal Insulin Therapy and why it is important to a person with Diabetes?
According to Prof. Helen Baron, the Asst. Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the university of Southern California, to understand the importance of Basal Insulin Therapy is to understand first the impact of Diabetes in the world.
What is Diabetes?
In its most basic sense, a person with diabetes has high blood glucose either because they are not producing enough insulin, or because the body does not respond properly to insulin.
The World Health Organization defines diabetes as a chronic disease which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. It is characterized by the inability of the body to properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. Insulin is produced by the pancreas especially during meals and if insulin is not enough or is absent, sugar cannot enter the cells and stays in the blood leading to high blood sugar.
The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach and releases hormones into the digestive system. In the healthy body, when blood sugar levels get too high, special cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) release insulin.
Insulin is a hormone and it causes cells to take in sugar to use as energy or to store as fat. This causes blood sugar levels to go back down.
Types of Diabetes?
- Type I Diabetes occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and kills the beta cells of the pancreas. No, or very little, insulin is released into the body. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy.
- Type II Diabetes occurs when the body can’t properly use the insulin that is released (called insulin insensitivity) or does not make enough insulin. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy.
- Gestational Diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately two to four per cent of all pregnancies (in the non-Aboriginal population) and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.
The Philippines is one of the world’s emerging diabetes hotspots. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 4 million Filipinos are suffering from diabetes; making us one of the top 15 in the world for diabetes prevalence – and a worryingly large unknown number who are unaware they have diabetes. The IDF reported as well that in 2015, 3.51 million Filipinos ages 20-79 have been diagnosed with diabetes and 51,127 (adults) have died because of it.
Anyone can get diabetes: young or old, rich or poor, male or female, living in the city or out there in the countryside. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology 8th National Nutrition Survey, diabetes prevalence has risen from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 5.4 percent in 2013. The greatest numbers of Filipinos with diabetes are 50 to 69 years of age and wealthy, and living in urban areas. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), for example, is both a genetic and a lifestyle disease linked to aging, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, obesity and urbanization.
Here are more alarming figures about this still incurable disease:
According to Prof. Baron, while a cure for Diabetes is still not within reach, people who are suffering from the disease can now be promised with a longer and better quality of life through the various new treatments available in the world today.
Basal Insulin Therapy in particular are now more effective, convenient and safe compared to what it was years ago.
Doctors recommend the use of insulin for prompt treatment and prevention of diabetes. Injections of insulin act as a supplement to the body’s insulin and it also helps control blood glucose levels. Insulin treatment is needed by patients with diabetes of all types and formulation will depend on the balance between insulin secretion and insulin resistance; Type 1 characterized when insulin is absent (T1DM) and Type 2 when there is a defective insulin receptor with insufficient insulin (T2DM). Using insulin may require a certain regimen but it is an effective way of managing diabetes and allows one to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
Currently available insulin delivery tools consist of syringes, insulin pens and insulin pumps. The choice of insulin delivery tool is very individualized and should be decided by the individual living with diabetes. Knowing the onset of action, the peak action and duration of action of the insulin(s) that you use to treat one’s diabetes will help optimize blood glucose control and avoid any adverse reaction. For example, blood or urine glucose monitoring is recommended in patients who are at risk of hypoglycemia or who do not recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. The risk for developing hypoglycemia is higher in patients receiving intensive or continuous infusion insulin therapy.
Glargine 300 (Toujeo) is a new, FDA approved long-acting insulin that shows low incidence of hypoglycemia and nocturnal hypoglycemia which was the common problem in using Basal Insulin treatments.
Glargine 300 is like the concentrated version of Glargine 100 (Lantus) with a slow-release mechanism providing a flatter PK/PD curve.
Also present during the presentation held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel two Thursdays ago were Dr. Mia Fojas of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism and Dr. Agnes Cruz, President of Diabetes Philippines as well top officials from Pharmaceutical Company Sanofi.
For more about Diabetes, Basal Insulin Therapy and the new Glargine 300 (toujeo), watch the videos below:
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