Diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations.

*Learn more about diabetes management at our upcoming seminar Empowering your Life on 30 October 2016!

What is it?

Diabetes is a chronic disease which occurs when blood sugar levels in the body are too high. This is also known as hyperglycaemia.

Type 1 diabetes

Insulin is a hormone which helps the body to convert sugar into energy. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the body produces none or very little insulin and sugar will start to build up and stay in the blood. Type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood and cannot be prevented. Individuals with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin to help their body process sugar in the blood.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin well and cannot use the available insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes usually starts in adulthood and can be prevented or delayed through exercise and diet.

Prevention

The most effective way of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes is to have a healthy lifestyle (“Exercise Guide for A Healthy Lifestyle”).

  1. Choosing healthy foods

Eating a healthy diet can help to control blood glucose levels and maintain body weight. Select foods which are high in fibre, such as vegetables, wholegrain and nuts. Grains have a low glycaemic index and is a good food type to reduce weight gain. Try to cut down on deep fried foods as these will increase glycaemic index and create a quick rise in sugar levels.

  1. Cut down on smoking

There is a close link between smoking and diabetes. Studies show that smokers are at a higher risk of contracting diabetes – by 50%, as compared to non-smokers. Heavy smokers especially, are at a much higher risk of contracting diabetes.

  1. Regular exercise

Obesity is the primary cause of diabetes and will increase the risk of contracting the diseases by 7 times. But fret not, as reducing body weight by 7 to 10% can help to lower the risk by half. Regular exercise not only helps to maintain a healthy body weight, but support heart health as well. Consider exercising in moderation three to four times a week, such as brisk walking, cycling or slow jogging.

In the news

The American Diabetes Association has issued recommendations on regular, physical exercises for people with diabetes. Guidelines include three or more minute of light activity, such as walking and arm stretches. Sedentary behaviour such as prolonged sitting at a desk or while watching television contributes to health problems such as diabetes. Hence short periods of movement every 30 minutes can improve blood sugar management in people who have sedentary jobs.

References

American Diabetes Association

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