Do you know that Malaysia has the highest number of people living with diabetes in Asia?
Yes, you heard that right. According to National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, it shows that 1 in 5 adults aged 18 and above have diabetes, an estimated equivalent of 3.9 million Malaysians. This even earned Malaysia the title of “Sweetest Nation in Asia”.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious worldwide public health issues. Not only is diabetes incurable, but it can also increase one’s risk of developing other health complications such as heart problems, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and amputations.
Diabetes is serious, you need to take action immediately before it’s too late.
In conjunction with World Diabetes Day which takes place today (14th November 2022), let’s dive and take a look into how we can increase our awareness about diabetes and how to heed healthy lifestyle strategies such as a healthy and balanced diet and regular physical activity to avoid this disease.
World Diabetes Day (WWD) was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. WWD became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14TH November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.
Let’s start by understanding what diabetes is.
There are three types of the condition:
- Type 1 diabetes: It can develop at any age, but occurs most frequently in children and adolescents. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces very little or no insulin, which means that you need daily insulin injections to maintain blood glucose levels under control.
- Type 2 diabetes: This type is more common in adults and accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make good use of the insulin that it produces. The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes treatment is a healthy lifestyle, including increased physical activity and a healthy diet. However, over time most people with type 2 diabetes will require oral drugs and insulin to keep their blood glucose levels under control.
- Gestational diabetes (GDM): A type of diabetes that consists of high blood glucose during pregnancy and is associated with complications to both mother and child. GDM usually disappears after pregnancy but women affected and their children are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life
Diabetes Complications That Might Occur
People with diabetes have a high risk of developing a number of serious health problems. Consistently high blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. In addition, people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation.
According to WHO, lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, you need to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
You need to be physically active like doing at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. Furthermore, you should eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats. WHO also advises avoiding the use of tobacco as smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How to spread awareness on World Diabetes Day?
There are a number of ways to do your part for World Diabetes Day. The most beneficial way is by sharing the 4Ts of type 1 diabetes.
4Ts? I’m certain that only some of us are aware of this. Well, let’s look at it now. 4Ts are one of the ways to figure out whether an individual is experiencing the symptoms or not.
- Toilet – going for a wee more often, especially at night.
- Thirsty – being constantly thirsty and not being able to quench it.
- Tired – being incredibly tired and having no energy.
- Thinner – losing weight without trying to, or looking thinner than usual.
Consult a doctor right away for a test if you notice any of these symptoms.
Now you know how to contribute to lessening the number of Diabetes in Malaysia right? Let’s join hands together and live a healthy lifestyle.