PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday admitted that he uses a medical device called an oxygen converter when sleeping to relieve various health issues.
Duterte, who marked his 72nd birthday on Tuesday, said this was an effect of his being a longtime smoker.
“The picture of my room released during my birthday showed an oxygen converter,” Duterte said in remarks in Malacañang, referring to the photos shared by his son-in-law Manases Carpio on social media on Tuesday.
“My circulation is not normal, lack of oxygenation. I use it when I sleep. My brain suffers lack of oxygenation. I’ve been using it for a while now,” he added.
An oxygen concentrator is a device that concentrates oxygen from a source to provide a steady supply of oxygen.
Its medical uses include treatment of those suffering from sleep apnea (pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep), emphysema, or other respiratory ailments.
The President stressed that he “never lied” about his health woes.
“I was asked during the [pre-election] debates about my health condition. I said I have Barrett because of drinking and Buerger because of smoking,” he said.
Duterte has admitted to the following illnesses related to his past smoking habit: Buerger’s Disease, Barrett’s Esophagus and GERD.
Buerger’s Disease is a rare condition involving the constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs, blocking blood flow.
Barrett’s Esophagus is a complication of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Smoking is a risk factor. In people with GERD, stomach contents flow backward into the esophagus, which is not protected from the acid the stomach produces.
Duterte, who said he learned the ill effects of smoking the hard way, explained that this was why he was determined to implement stricter regulations on smoking.
“In the coming months, we will be implementing the no-smoking law in the Philippines. You can only smoke if you are in the open sea, at least five kilometers from the coastal shores,” the President said in jest during remarks in Mindoro Oriental on Wednesday.
The President has promised to sign an executive order banning smoking in public areas.