5 Important Facts About Diabetes in S’pore Every S’porean Should Know

This is a guest post contributed by Ling.

Did you know that Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations?

According to a 2015 report by the International Diabetes Federation, we’re just behind the United States in terms of diabetic people. Singapura boleh lah!

1 in 9 Singapore residents have diabetes and this figure gets more worrying for the older folks – 30% of Singaporeans above 60 suffer from this health issue.

Here are 5 things you need to know about diabetes especially if you’re one of those who can’t resist a can of coke on a hot day.

1. “My Sugar Level Is Quite High”

Image: helpadiabeticchild.org

Some people who suffer from diabetes might be embarrassed to reveal their health condition. Sometimes when they decline sugary foods or drinks, they might politely note that their “sugar level is high (血糖高)”. This is a common saying in the Chinese culture.

Technically that’s not wrong.

Diabetes is caused by having too much sugar in the blood as the body is either not producing enough insulin or is resistant to the insulin it produces. Insulin is important in helping to convert the sugar in our body to energy.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune problem – the immune system attacks its own pancreas, causing it to secrete very little insulin.

Type 2 diabetes usually can be prevented – it happens when the body can’t properly use the insulin it produces so sugar builds up in the blood.

90 percent of diabetic people suffer from Type 2 diabetes but that’s not the end of the world. Type 2 diabetes can be managed well with the right diet and exercise!

2. Diabetes Can Lead To Amputation Of Limbs Because #Ulcer

Image: usnews.com

When a person with diabetes develops wounds or ulcers on his or her foot, he or she might need to amputate their lower limbs.

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This is necessary as in some cases of diabetes, it can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). This disease reduces blood flow to your legs and feet so it can prevent you from feeling pain.

When you can’t feel pain, you might not realize the wound or ulcer on your feet and will tend to apply more pressure on the affected area, causing it to be more infected. Reduced blood flow also causes slow wound healing.

If the wound cannot heal or if the damage is beyond repair, amputation may be necessary.

Diabetics are probably most afraid of severing their limbs but there are ways to prevent it from happening.

One way is to manage blood sugar through a healthy-diet and regular exercise. Another way is to ensure good foot care – this includes checking for sensation in your feet!

3. Soft Drinks Increases Your Chances Of Getting Type 2 Diabetes By 26%

Image: strengthsensei.com

Studies have shown that if you drink one or two sugary drinks a day, it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent.

This is not limited to coke only. Other sugary drinks like fruit punches, energy drinks and sweet coffee/tea can cause a spike in blood sugar.

For example, a can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar which comes up to about 10 teaspoons of sugar. This alone exceeds the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day.

Men should not consume more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) while women should not consume more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.

Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to your foods or drinks during processing or preparation. This is different from natural sugars found in fruits.

Our body does not require added sugar. Also, too many cycles of spikes in sugar can overwhelm the body and lead the sugar to be transformed into fat in the liver. This means that skinny people are not immune to diabetes.

Of course, sugary drinks are very high in calories and a high-calorie diet can cause you to put on weight. If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop diabetes so avoid sugar as much as you can!

4. Exercising Can Help Lower Blood Sugar

Image: singaporemotherhood.com

As much as diabetes is concerned, we want to avoid having too much sugar in our blood.

Exercise has proven to help bring down blood sugar because when you are active, your body cells are more sensitive to insulin so it can work more effectively.

During workouts, your cells can also remove sugar from the blood from a mechanism that is completely different from insulin.

Furthermore, exercising can help to reduce your weight. A healthier weight lowers the risk of developing diabetes so remember to stay active!

Find creative ways to get moving. For example, if you’re deskbound, regularly refill your cup of water instead of a bottle so it forces you to take more walks to the pantry.

If you’re used to taking the shuttle bus to the train station every morning, try to adjust your lifestyle by brisk-walking instead. If you’re worried about the heat, leave your house so you can enjoy the cool air in the early morning.

Don’t forget about the $100 credit in your ActiveSG account! We heard it hasn’t expired so make good use of it while you can!

5. Brown Rice Doesn’t Taste As Nice But It Lowers Your Risk Of Diabetes By 16%

Image: jeanetteshealthyliving.com

Brown rice may not be your natural choice of staple food given how you’ve been used to eating white rice almost all your life, including during the annual Chinese New Year reunion dinner.

Certain food like curry definitely goes better with white rice so it’s understandable why people shy away from choosing brown rice.

But did you know that by replacing a third of a serving of white rice with brown each day can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 16%?

Both white and brown rice have a high glycemic index (GI) score. GI score of a food refers to the impact on blood sugar levels so the higher it is, the faster it affects blood sugar.

White rice has a GI of 72 whilst brown rice has a GI of 50. For those who are diabetic, brown rice is helpful in maintaining a healthier blood sugar level.

If you’re getting more health-conscious by now, you’d be happy to know that by replacing white rice with whole grain foods (barley, quinoa, millet etc.), it reduces the risk of developing diabetes by 36 percent!

For those who dislike brown rice, a good start would be to mix white rice with brown rice. But if you’re already a big fan of brown rice, do consider mixing other types of whole grains for an even more nutritious meal!

P.S. Brown short grain rice is softer and closer to the taste of white rice so do try that if you have a phobia of the red cargo rice!

Remember, diabetes can be prevented with a healthier diet and an active lifestyle! But first, get yourself checked to find out whether you’re at risk of developing diabetes.

As with all things, better to be safe than sorry lah.

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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

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Feature Image: straitstimes.com

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

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