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Preventing Diabetes

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

  • The food we eat becomes sugar (glucose) in our body
  • Our body can only use sugar for energy with the help of a hormone named insulin
  • In diabetes, insulin is either:
    • not produced or
    • the body does not respond to it
  • This causes high blood sugar and poor fat usage in the body

Risk Factors of Diabetes

Cannot be changed

  • Family history
  • Age
  • History of Gestational Diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Ethinic group

Can be changed

  • Overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Smoking

Short-term Complications of Uncontrolled Diabetes

Weaker immune system

  • Skin or fungal infections
  • Poor wound healing

Poor body functions

  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Blurry vision

Hunger and thirst

  • Increased appetite, weight loss
  • Increased urination, causing increased thirst

Long-term Complications of Uncontrolled Diabetes


  • Damage to the main blood vessels
  • Blood vessels can become blocked
  • Can cause:
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke


  • Damage to small blood vessels
  • Can cause:
    • Retinopathy (eye condition) or blindness
    • Kidney failure
    • Nerve damage
    • Wounds become infected and may lead to amputation
    • Erectile impotence


Risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced by:

  1. Active Lifestyle
    • 150 mins of moderate to intense aerobic activity
    • Two or more days per week of strengthening exercise
  2. Healthy Eating
    • Variety, balance, moderate
    • Less refined carbohydrate food (e.g. white rice, white bread, refined noodles)
    • More wholegrain food (e.g. brown rice, wholemeal bread, rolled oats)
  3. Healthy Lifestyle
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Say no to smoking
    • Go for regular health screening


  • Diabetes is becoming more common in Singapore
  • Being active, having a healthy diet and lifestyle play an important part in diabetes prevention
  • Go for regular health screening for early detection
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