MANILA - Health experts on Tuesday reminded the public about the importance of taking maintenance medicines on time as the holiday season nears.
Dr. Harvey Aguilar of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism emphasized this at a forum to ensure that Filipinos will have the discipline to follow their doctor's advice an observe "medical adherence."
Recent studies stated that 50 percent of Filipinos today do not take their medicines on time due to forgetfulness, insufficient budget, issues with drugs, and fear of their medicine's side effect.
Aguilar warned the public that ignoring their need for maintenance medicines could give serious health implications.
"Kung hindi ka nga naman nakakasunod sa tamang pag-inom ng gamot, maaari itong mag-lead sa mas madaming pagkakasakit, or hindi gumagaling ang iyong sakit na ginagamot. At dahil lagi ka ngang may sakit, tuluy-tuloy ang gastusin para sa sakit na yan. At siyempre nagdudusa ka, bumababa ang kalidad ng iyong pamumuhay," he said.
Those who frequently forget taking their medicines must post their reminder at visible parts of the house. The problem can also be solved by using a "pill organizer", too, or setting up a phone alarm reminder, Aguilar said.
Those who are either having budget constraints can check with their health center if their prescribed drugs were free.
Issues with their medicines or fears of side effects can easily be discussed with personal physicians, Aguilar added.
For those attending family gatherings, Aguilar advised them not to skip meals so they can eat a lot during Christmas.
To ensure a healthy body, getting a small plate and distancing oneself from the buffet table will help limit one's intake. Sweets must be replaced with fruits that provide "natural sugar", Aguilar said.
Nutritionist-dietician Jennina Duatin of Diabetes Philippines, meanwhile, reminded the public to always monitor their blood sugar, cholesterol and weight during the Christmas season.
Even at Christmas gatherings, one should not exceed the normal daily food intake. Oily foods or those heavy to digestion such as meat or fried meals must be balanced by steamed fish, vegetables and fruits.
Instead of soda or fruit juices, take water, Duatin told the public.
"Ang prutas hindi dapat naka-juice, naka-blenderize, kailangan 'yung whole fruit ang dapat kainin dahil sayang yung juice extract . . . Kailangan may matalbos pa ring gulay kahit during Christmas time . . . At dapat yung iniinom tubig," she said.
"Hindi po kailangan 'yung sweetened beverages. Since sweetened beverages, additional calorie but without any nutrient."
Another expert strongly discouraged the public from drinking alcohol, which she said, has been proven to cause various serious illnesses.
"Ang rekomendasyon po namin is . . . No safe limits to alcohol . . . The safe limits offshoot, because mas maraming pasyenteng nagkakaroon ng cancer. Even cardiovascular diseases and even liver-diseases," explains Dr. Diana Payawal of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology.
Filipinos are now included on the list of heavy alcohol drinkers in the world, Payawal said, citing a number of international health studies.
She appealed to parents to start discouraging their children from taking alcohol while they are still young.
Health experts are also saying that people who enjoy complete sleeping hours, regularly eat healthy food and maintain a healthy lifestyle no longer need to take multivitamins or health supplements.