National Diabetes Awareness Month: A Closer Look at Diabetes Types, Symptoms, Treatment and Management

National Diabetes Awareness Month: A Closer Look at Diabetes Types, Symptoms, Treatment and Management

National Diabetes Awareness Month: A Closer Look at Diabetes Types, Symptoms, Treatment and Management

16 November 2023  | Article is written by Arvisha Ivonne A/P Anthony Raj (Nutritionist, BP Healthcare), Reviewed by Tan Jun Er (Dietitian, Lovy Pharmacy)

Source: Freepik

Diabetes in Malaysia

Diabetes is a major health concern in Malaysia. The number of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes cases recorded have been escalating at an alarming rate; Type 2 diabetes have reached as high as 20.8% in an estimated 2.8 adults above the age of 30.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when one’s blood glucose level becomes too high (hyperglycaemia). This can happen when your body is not producing a sufficient amount of insulin, which can cause building up of sugar in the bloodstream.

Source: Freepik

Besides hyperglycemia, diabetes can lead to many other health complications such as chronic heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, visual loss, oral problems like tooth decay and cavities and even an increased risk for a mental health issue. Hence, it is important to start preventing diabetes and to improve overall health.

Source: Freepik

Diabetes Symptoms

Some diabetic symptoms and warning signs include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Feeling more fatigue than usual
Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin or any at all. This causes glucose to build up in your bloodstream. This is because without enough insulin, glucose cannot be transported into body cells to be used as energy.

Type 1 diabetes may appear at any age and symptoms may develop very quickly in just a few weeks or months. Although risk factors for Type 1 diabetes are not very clear, studies have shown that having a family history plays a major role as well as age, as it is more likely to develop in children and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes differs from its counterpart as the body is able to produce sufficient insulin, however, the cells do not respond normally to the insulin. This is called insulin resistance, and to negate this effect, the pancreas produces more and more insulin, at an unsustainable rate, trying to get the glucose into the cells.

The blood sugar level will then continue to rise,facilitating the development of Type 2 diabetes. Compared to Type 1 diabetes, risk factors of Type 2 diabetes are more clear but symptoms generally take months or years to develop before they are noticed. Risk factors include being overweight, being above 45 years old, family history of type 2 diabetes and having a sedentary lifestyle.

Source: Freepik

Diabetes Screening

The most efficient way of increasing the livelihood and ensuring diabetic patient’s quality of life is through having regular screenings. This can allow early detection of diabetes risks so that it can be treated accordingly.

Uncover your diabetes risks through our all-encompassing screening package,
designed to also detect potential issues such as specific cancers,
high blood pressure, as well as lung and heart diseases.

Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG)

Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG) is a daily method for patients to measure their blood sugar using a glucose meter. It offers a tangible way for patients to track progress, observe treatment results, and identify varying glucose levels. This information helps patients make informed choices about meals, activities, and prescribed medications.

Take control of your health! Get your own glucometer and monitor your blood sugar levels today

Diabetes Management: Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet and staying active helps control sugar intake and lowers the risk of blood sugar spikes.

For those with diabetes, a suitable diet should focus on nutrient-rich, low-fat foods. Opt for low glycemic index (GI) foods and limit carbohydrate intake. The GI rates foods based on how quickly they raise blood sugar levels after consumption, with a higher GI indicating a faster spike.

Source: Health Harvard

Understanding the GI system is key. Foods with a high GI lead to rapid digestion and absorption, causing a sharp increase in blood sugar. Choosing low-GI foods promotes a gradual and steady rise in blood sugar levels.

To make healthier choices, opt for low-GI foods over high-GI options. If following generic diet plans proves challenging, consider the personalized nutritional advice and custom meal plans available through the BP Healthcare Total Wellness Programme (TWP).

Get 10 sessions of healthcare consultations and body mass analysis
with our TWP package. Stand a chance to win RM10,000 if you sign up
for this package by 1st January 2024!*