New Tech Can Now Help Diabetics Achieve Their Fit Life Dreams
Regular exercise is a no-brainer for a healthy life, but for the almost four million adult Filipinos with diabetes in the Philippines, demolishing the squat or completing a jog is more challenging as they need to manage blood sugar levels constantly.
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Nevertheless, Eric Bergara of Active Diabetics strongly encourages exercise for Filipinos living with the condition. For these strange times, when access to gyms are limited (or when people don’t want to be in public spaces), he advises running and biking—alone—with all the precautions such as distancing and protective gear.
But here’s another challenge: While exercise bolsters the immunity of diabetics against ailments, they must keep in mind their sugar levels. “Living with diabetes is all about meticulous control of your blood sugar,” says sports medicine specialist Dr. Marc Castro. “When you exercise as a diabetic you want to keep your sugar at a certain range to avoid hypoglycemia (too low) or hyperglycemia (too high). Exercising at any of those states will be very dangerous for the diabetic.”
Most Filipinos with diabetes measure their blood glucose level almost thrice a day, and Dr. Castro says diabetics need to look at the right data—sugar or glucose levels—to properly assess which diet or exercise will work best for them.
Bergara notes another snag in the diabetic’s quest for a fit life. According to him, constant monitoring of sugar levels takes “forever,” especially when trying to get the right sugar profile to adjust his activity. While there is the finger-prick method, the sports enthusiast now taps into new technology of the Abbott FreeStyle Libre, a flash continuous glucose monitoring system that allows diabetics to manage their condition meticulously with the right data. “You can take as many readings from dinner to breakfast the next day. You will discover if indeed your sugar spikes in the early mornings,” he says.
According to Dr. Castro, if Filipinos with diabetes know their glucose levels better, it will be easier for them to adjust their lifestyle. “When you know your glucose numbers you can easily adapt especially when you’re getting low, making exercise safer,” he said.
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Bergara also reminds fellow diabetics to seek professional help to manage their condition better. “Remember, medications are prescribed by our doctors. The diet and exercise, sugar profile and lab results are the user-controlled factors we can manage,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s all up to us if we want to get better.”