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5 Myths About Diabetes Debunked!

Diabetes in Singapore

Did you know, about one in every nine Singaporean residents aged 18 to 69 years of age were affected by diabetes in 2010? This is a staggering number, and a worrying sign when it comes to the health and wellbeing of the people. One in three diabetics are actually unaware they had diabetes, and even amongst those that know, one in three had poor control of their condition.

The costs, which include medical expenses as well as the loss of productivity of diabetes were more than $940 million back in 2014. This number is expected to rise to $1.8 billion by 2050. With such high numbers and the risks involved, it is important for us to know more about the condition.

Diabetes Risk Factors

There can be many reasons for one to be afflicted with diabetes, but there are common risk factors that can increase the unfortunate chances of one being diagnosed with the condition:

  • Being overweight or obese, with a body mass index equal to or more than 25.0kg/m2
  • Having first-degree relative(s) with diabetes
  • Mothers who gave birth to a child that weighs ≥ 4kg, or who were previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Having hypertension (blood pressure ≥ 140/90mmHg) or being on therapy for hypertension
  • Having a high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (< 1.0mmol/l for males and < 1.3mmol/l for females and/or triglyceride level ≥ 2.2mmol/l)
  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Having impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or an impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) on a previous testing
  • Having a history of cardiovascular disease

Weight is an important factor, especially for those who are overweight or suffer from obesity. Almost four in every 10 Singaporeans are part of this vulnerable group, which is contributing significantly to the prevalence of diabetes in Singapore. Obesity alone is estimated to account for 80-85% of the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, those who smoke also have a higher chance of developing Type-2 diabetes than non-smokers. This is due to the insulin resistance that comes about due to smoking.

One in every five mothers in Singapore may also get gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

While a proper diagnosis is always needed to determine if one suffers from diabetes, there are also telltale signs that one can look out for:

  • Increased/frequent hunger
  • Increased/frequent thirst
  • Increased/frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant and extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow and poor healing of wounds

Diabetes Complications

Diabetes itself is already a harmful enough condition, but it can also lead to other conditions that will further lower the standard of your living. Those with diabetes need to take better care in order to stave off the following:

  • Stroke
    • Two in five people who had strokes also had coexisting diabetes
  • Cardiac arrest
    • One in two people who had a cardiac arrest had coexisting diabetes
  • Kidney failure
    • Two in three new kidney failure cases were caused by diabetes

Preventing Diabetes

Everyone should look to live healthily to keep conditions such as diabetes at bay, and there are certain good habits and routines one can cultivate that can increase your resistance to such occurrences:

  • Go for regular health screenings
  • Have a healthy and balanced diet
  • Be physically active
  • Stay within a healthy BMI range
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit/avoid alcohol intake

Debunking Diabetes Myths

Having the right habits will go a long way in the fight against diabetes, but it is also vital that we understand just what is true and what are myths. This way, you can adjust your life accordingly and reap the benefits.

Myth #1:Diabetics are not able to exercise as much as non-diabetics

Not true at all,  diabetics are actually encouraged to exercise regularly. This helps them to keep an active lifestyle and manage diabetes more easily.

Myth #2: Diabetics are not able to eat sweets

This is also not true. Diabetics are still able to eat most things as part of their diet, even sweets and sugar. However, they will need to do so in moderation. The blood sugar levels have to be kept within an acceptable range to keep their condition in check.

Myth #3: You can’t get diabetes if you’re not overweight or obese

Weight is obviously not the only risk factor when it comes to diabetes. There are also many diabetics that are within the normal weight range. Keeping your weight in a healthy range is good, but you also have to look at family history, lifestyle, and diet when it comes to the risk of diabetes.

Myth #4: Diabetics have a special diet

Diabetics do not have to stick to a special diet, but the most important thing is to eat in moderation. In fact, certain diabetes-friendly food may actually do the opposite, and contribute to blood glucose levels negatively and cost more than regular food. Diabetics just have to take note of what they are eating, and should not overindulge.

Myth #5: Diabetics can get sick easily

Just like everyone else, diabetics have no increased risks of becoming sick with the flu or other conditions. However, it is recommended that those with diabetes get their flu shots/vaccines to help them manage the condition, as serious complications are more likely to develop as compared to non-diabetics.

Start Your Journey to Better Health Today

Diabetes is a common problem that we should all be aware of. The symptoms, signs, and how to go about preventing the condition in the first place are all important information to have. By giving yourself the necessary knowledge, you can develop better habits and change your lifestyle to ensure that you are always looking out for your health.

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