Another chart we topped? Diabetes. Singapore is the nation with the second highest proportion of people with diabetes among developed nations.
Yep. If you didn’t know how prevalent diabetes is among Singaporeans (about 440,000 Singaporeans aged 18 and above live with the disease, or about 11%, btw), you probably don’t know just how much of the information you think you know about diabetes is true. One in three Singaporeans has a lifetime risk of getting diabetes.
Here are five myths about diabetes debunked.
1. “Getting diabetes is your own fault. You should have taken less sugar!”
Not entirely true.
There are two types of diabetes -- Type 1 and Type 2 -- the most common being Type 2, where obesity is one of the key risk factors.
However, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin, is very possibly due to a bad stroke of luck, because there has been little evidence pinpointing its exact cause.
Bad stroke of luck because Type 1 diabetes is unpreventable. Sadly, it has nothing to do with your body weight.
Although, there is a higher risk for those whose parents or sibling(s) have diabetes to also develop diabetes later on – so indulge the Singaporean in you, be kiasu and get yourself checked early.
And if your tests come back negative, listen to us -- go and buy 4D. For good luck.
2. “Thin people don’t get diabetes.”
Very simply, this means that you’re not completely risk-free just because your weight is normal.
Other factors that put you at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes include your diet, how physically active you are, smoking and your family history.
3. “People with diabetes all have to take insulin, right?”
Type 2 diabetes can be managed with regular exercise, a good diet, weight control and oral medicine. If these lifestyle changes and medication still fail to control your blood sugar, insulin injections may then be required.
As Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is difficult to foresee, the condition has to be managed with insulin injections.
4. “It’s so difficult to eat out with a person with diabetes because of their dietary restrictions.”
Not if they adopt a healthy and moderate eating pattern as advised by their doctor or dietician.
Yes, it’s true that people with diabetes have to be very careful about taking sugar and carbohydrates, in order to keep their blood sugar under control.
But carbohydrates are essential to provide energy and keep your body (and mind) functioning, so it’s not that people with diabetes can’t take them at all.
Just in moderation, to ensure carbohydrate intake is even throughout the day. And making healthier choices, like choosing whole grain options and taking brown rice instead of white.
Here’s a list of diabetes-friendly Singaporean food you can eat outside.
5. “Diabetes can be cured.”
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure available. Sad.
But while you cannot be rid of the condition, it is possible for those with prediabetes to prevent or delay the condition from developing into full-blown Type 2 diabetes.
There is also the possibility of slowing or even reversing Type 2 disease progression, by keeping to a consistent and strict diet with regular exercise.
Diabetes is the second leading cause of mortality in Singapore; the condition is found in almost half of all heart attack cases and two-thirds of kidney failure cases. If not well controlled, diabetes can lead to serious complications or even life-threatening conditions.
Share this article to help spread the word about these misconceptions about diabetes.
Find out more about diabetes and how to manage the condition at letsbeatdiabetes.sg
If you prefer human interaction, you can call HealthLine at 1800 223 1313.
This sponsored post by Health Promotion Board has made us more knowledgeable about diabetes overnight. Thanks.
Top image by Tsiuwen Yeo.