The number of British adults with diabetes has risen to more than 3.2 million – up by a million in just seven years. New figures show 163,000 people were diagnosed with the condition last year, the biggest total in a year since 2008. This brings the total to 3,208,014 adults with diabetes – or one in 17 of the population. In 2006, the figure was 2.2 million. Diabetes is exceedingly expensive. The NHS in UK spends £14 billion a year – 10 per cent of its budget – treating diabetes and its complications. The authorities in UK feel they are in the middle of an unfolding public health disaster that demands urgent action.
Singapore is similarly not spared from the diabetes tsunami. In year 2004, only 8.2% of Singaporeans age 18-69 was affected. In year 2010, this number has increased at an alarming rate to 11.3% of Singaporeans. This makes Singapore one of the developed countries with the highest incidence of diabetes. In Europe, it is generally around 6 to 9 percent, and worldwide it is 8.5 percent. There are many more out there who are probably unaware and are undiagnosed. The rise of diabetes in Singapore mirrors the rise in obesity from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010. Besides obesity, one of the other biggest risk factor of diabetes is aging. For many people out there, it is no longer a question of whether they will get diabetes, but rather when they will get diabetes.
Diabetes causes a host of health complications ranging from blindness to kidney failure, poor circulation leading to limb amputations, heart attacks and strokes. Besides living an active lifestyle, the other important advice would be to actively screen for the disease and treat the disease aggressively while it is still in the early stage, so as to reduce the risk of succumbing to these dreaded complications.
Eating yoghurt and low-fat cheese can cut the risk of developing diabetes by around a quarter compared with consuming none, according to a study of 3,500 Britons. While it is not clear how yoghurt exactly lower diabetes risk, there is no doubt that yoghurt is a highly nutritious food with a host of health benefits. So before u reach out for a pack of chips for your snacks, or when you feel like getting a soda, consider switching to a yoghurt. This simple gesture might do a lot for your health than you can imagine.
A study shows that children who are overweight in pre-school are likely to stay obese for the rest of their lives. In recent years, not only the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, a worrying proportion of diabetics are in young people. Given that obesity in childhood predisposes to later life obesity and diabetes, it may be important to start intervening in childhood to curb the risk of developing diabetes in later life. However a well balanced diet is imperative in a growing child. Attempts to restrict calories and lose weight in a young growing child should be done under proper medical supervision.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises that all pregnant women who have not been previously diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of whether they have risk factors or not, should be given a blood test to screen for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which occurs during pregnancy. The condition affects 18% of all preganancy and can results in serious complications to the mother and infant if left untreated. The basis for this recommendation to screen all pregnancies came from several large randomized trials that have found substantial reductions in pregnancy-related outcomes in treating gestational diabetes, even in mild forms.
Often, women with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of having diabetes later on in life, after the pregnancy. Evidence also suggests that children born to women with gestational diabetes are at higher risks of having diabetes later on in life as well. Early diagnosis and active intervention is the key to reducing debilitating complications associated with diabetes.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), in short, is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. The condition is frequently associated with weight gain in a young women. This results in androgenization (acne, excessive facial and body hair), menstrual irregularities and infertility. PCOS is common, affecting as many as 1 out of 10 women. It is thought to be one of the leading causes of female subfertility and the most frequent endocrine problem in women of reproductive age.
Besides the disturbances in the sex hormones, the sinister feature of the syndrome is insulin resistance and obesity, which lead to diabetes. In fact, as many as 1 in 4 women with PCOS has diabetes. As a result of these metabolic disturbances, women with PCOS have a higher risk of cardiovascular event in their lifetime. Although termed as an ‘ovarian’ syndrome, the underlying pathology is not restricted to the ovaries. Often, there is a conglomeration of endocrine and metabolic problems in a woman with PCOS. These hormonal and metabolic disturbances can be amenable to treatment, with restoration of menstrual cycles and fertility in many instances.
Yet another claim of a certain food which might prevent obesity and diabetes. Also to bear in mind some of these studies which are conducted on animal models may not yield similar results in humans. Nonetheless all these scientific work which are aimed to eventually find better treatment for diabetes and obesity, and for the betterment of medical science, should be highly encouraged and applauded.
One in nine Singaporean adults aged between 18 to 69 years were obese in a survey in 2010, and Singapore’s obesity rate is increasing at about 1 per cent per year. It is likely the obesity rate currently in 2014 is even higher. Many people frown upon obesity because of the negative vibe in terms of physical appearance. But the true perils of obesity lies in its associated metabolic disorders (including diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia), and the complications downstream as a result of these metabolic disorders. These complications include heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, gallstones and even cancers. The incidence of these metabolic disorders and their complications will most certainly aggravate as the obesity rate increases further. However, not all is lost. Obesity and its associated metabolic disorders can be treated to good effect as long as the patient is motivated and is positive about working with the doctor to optimize their metabolic profile.
A study found people who have a high intake of flavanoids, compounds found in herbs, berries, red wine and chocolates had lower insulin resistance and better controlled blood sugar levels. While any discovery of compounds that may help diabetes is good news, reports like this still needs to be interpreted cautiously. It is unknown exactly how much of these compounds are necessary to potentially reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is likely that the extra calories and weight gain from over consumption of chocolates and wine will nullify any beneficial effects it may impose.
Singapore may have as many as 1 million diabetics by 2050, as we get older and fatter. This trend is worrying of course. However it has to be emphasized that with early detection and good treatment, many diabetics can live very normal, good quality life, free from debilitating complications. The key is early detection and good treatment with regular monitoring and active intervention. So although news like this is worrying, we take comfort in the fact that diabetes still remain a very treatable disease as long as you are motivated to do so and you want to live well and healthy.