Diabetes and high blood pressure continue to plague Singapore Indians, a recent survey by the MOH has shown. 14.2% and 29.5% of Indians in Singapore have diabetes and high blood pressure, respectively.
The prevalence of diabetes among Singapore Indians was higher than the national average of around 10% of all Singaporeans, the National Health Survey 2020 by the Ministry of Health, published in March 2021, showed. When compared to other races, 8.2% of Chinese and 14.4% of Malays have diabetes. 36.1% of Chinese and 37.5% of Malays had higher blood pressure.
The vast majority of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes – a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. When type 2 diabetes onsets, your body’s ability to make insulin is impaired. While diabetes is “incurable” you can indeed slow its progression.
Complications due to diabetes can cause the following health issues:
- Heart disease, leading to heart attack and stroke
- Nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease)
- Bacterial and fungal conditions
- Hearing loss
- Foot infections and sores that have difficulty healing
- Neuropathy (nerve damages throughout the body)
- Retinopathy/vision loss
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
Diabetes can be treated and in some cases, go into remission, especially with lifestyle and dietary changes. This includes:
- Regular exercise
- Healthy eating
- Weight loss
- Medications – the prescription drug metformin which is consumed orally or insulin therapy for more severe cases
- Regular blood level monitoring
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
The best approach to diabetes is pre-emptive. Indians are said to be predisposed to diabetes for two key reasons – genetics, our sugar/flour-heavy diets. There is nothing that we can do about the 1st factor. But we can certainly do a lot about with regards to the 2nd factor. If we combine a healthy diet with exercise and are disciplined about it, we can certainly forestall the onset of diabetes.
Specific keys to preventing and managing diabetes include:
- Cutting out saturated, trans fats and refined carbohydrates out of our diets.
- Eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Eating smaller portions, reducing calorie intake.
- Eliminating or minimizing processed foods
- Losing weight
- Exercising 4-5 times a week, 150 minutes total
- Drinking more water – replacing other beverages such as coffee, tea, sugary drinks and alcohol with water.
- Reducing sedentary lifestyles
Besides diabetes, high blood pressure is the other major ailment that can cause serious complications. They can be easily forestalled and/or managed. We present 8 tips to preventing and managing high blood pressure.
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