Obesity And Diabetes
The study points the finger to ageing and obesity. While it is unavoidable for us to grow old, the numbers show a clear connection between obesity and the condition.
“The prevalence of diabetes in male Singaporeans from 8.9 per cent in 2004 to 12.3 per cent in 2010 has moved up in line with adult obesity, which has risen from 6.9 per cent to 10.8 per cent in those years,” says Dr Bee Yong Mong, director of the Diabetes Centre at Singapore General Hospital.
Type 2 Diabetes Caused By Lifestyle Factors
Type 2 diabetes makes up 90 per cent of all cases, and is caused by lifestyle factors leading to an insulin deficiency. “To put it simply, type 2 diabetes is caused when your pancreas is overworked and ceases to function, as it loses its ability to produce insulin to regulate the excessive amounts of sugar consumed,” says Dr Bee. The more rare type 1 diabetes is caused by cell degeneration in the pancreas, and is usually genetically acquired.
Diabetes Damages Your Blood Vessels
Diabetes can lead to further chronic complications caused by damage to blood vessels from taking in more blood glucose than normal. Common complications faced include retinal degeneration, coronary artery disease, kidney failure and diabetic foot, which may lead to severe infection of the feet and even gangrene. This host of complications makes coping with the condition even more difficult.
“The disease becomes fatal when the patient falls into a coma caused by severe hypoglycaemia, or abnormally low blood glucose levels,” says Dr Bee. This condition occurs when the diabetic’s insulin levels drastically drop or spike, from eating less or more than usual, or prolonged exercise. A patient may die from brain damage from being in a diabetic coma.
No Cure For This Disease
Diabetes has no cure. “To cope with the disease, patients are usually prescribed with medication to aid in the production of insulin. In extreme cases, they would be required to take regular insulin injections,” says Dr Bee.
Ward Off Diabetes By Leading A Healthier Lifestyle
However, the best prescription for diabetes is leading a healthier lifestyle. “Exercising regularly and modifying your diet will help lower your blood glucose levels,” he says. Countries like Denmark and the UK have even implemented legislation on diet to curb the spread of the disease through enforced healthier living.