Phnom Penh, October 7 – Sanofi Cambodia organised a scientific event on “Optimal Solutions for Cardio-Metabolic Patients” for about 150 healthcare professionals at the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel. At the event, experts shared the latest scientific data on the management of hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes.
Sanofi’s Head of Medical Affairs, Dr Lim Huy said: “The event is important, as diabetes and hypertension affect millions of people around the world. Around 1.1 billion people live with hypertension and 415 million with diabetes in 2015. Our objective is to actively take part in educating doctors in Cambodia by inviting local and regional guests who can provide health professionals with better advice to pass on to their patients concerning the prevention and treatment of hypertension and diabetes.”
In Cambodia, there were approximately 230,800 cases of diabetes in 2015 and the number is expected to increase by 40 percent by 2040. In the Asian-Pacific region, diabetes is becoming a major problem and a growing medical, social and economic burden as the number of people affected is predicted to rise from 153 million in 2015 to 215 million in 2040, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
Cardiologist Dr Theng Youdaline said the main concerns were death or disability caused by is chaemic heart disease (coronary heart disease) and ischaemic stroke. “What leads to that are the more common diseases or preconditions, hypertension and diabetes. Seventy percent of people with Type 2 diabetes have hypertension, as well”.
Professor Koy Vanny, an endocrinologist, said: “We should not overlook hypertension as a problem because the mortality rate for untreated hypertension is high. If we count the number of deaths, hypertension is almost the number one cause of death in the world, with millions dying every year because of hypertension that has not been properly treated, their blood pressure out-of-control.”
Doctors stress that since both diseases are non-communicable diseases, doctors must pay attention to prevention as well as treatment according to the type of patients and the progression of the disease.
Professor Nemencio A Nicodemus, a diabetes expert from the Philippines, said an original trial was published in 2002 showing that the use of insulin in pre-diabetic individuals could be used, preventatively, to halt a patient’s progression to overt diabetes. “At the moment, even though insulin is a treatment for type-2 diabetes, sometime in the future, perhaps, there will be a day where we will also be using insulin to prevent diabetes. So you can use it whether the patient is newly diagnosed, whether the patient already has complications or even with patients who are admitted for emergency or critical conditions, insulin may be useful,” he said.
A STEPS survey by the University of Health Sciences and the WHO showed that the prevalence of diabetes in 2010 in Cambodia was 2.3 percent in rural areas and 5.6 percent in urban areas. The most affected age group was 65-69 years, with a prevalence of 6 percent, and prevalence was increasing year-on-year as the country’s relatively younger population ages. Hypertension is another non-communicable disease often ignored in Cambodia and other developing countries. Prevalence is currently at 11 percent of all adults, according to one recent study, but is also rising rapidly. Many Cambodians are unaware that they are at risk.
As diabetes and hypertension do not have dramatic symptoms, Professor Kuy Vanny asked that health practitioners recommend that people go to get health check-ups; especially people who have a family history of hypertension or diabetes. He added that people aged 35 and over should get blood tests at least one or two times a year. People who were getting older ought to do it once a year or every one-to-six months. Those with diabetes had to go as often as directed. People who were obese and who ate unhealthy food were more likely to get exhausted and have sleeping difficulties and people who had never gone for a health check-up before should have one as soon as possible to prevent the co-conditions of diabetes and hypertension from progressing more quickly.