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Diabetes

Diabetes in Malaysia is a known disease. In fact, it is one of the top 5 killers in Malaysia because as the local name suggests, it has to do with sugar. In Malay, diabetes is known as ‘Penyakit Kencing Manis’ or ‘Sweet Urine Disease’ which is the same name given by the Chinese and other communities as well.

Prevalence
This chronic illness if not controlled will result in much pain for the individual. It is accumulated throughout the years and is usually resulted from food intake. Malaysians love their ‘Teh Tarik’ and ‘Nescafe Kau’ and they are usually prepared using sugar and milk. If not controlled, it could lead to heart failure and stroke while the men could face erectile dysfunctionproblems too.

Like it or not, everyone in Malaysia is exposed to the risk of contracting diabetes because we love our food to be tasty and sweet. This happens when the levels of sugar in the blood is too high. Make no mistake about it, our body needs glucose, a type of sugar to function efficiently. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream because it is one of the main sources of energy. The pancreas creates insulin which is needed to move glucose from the bloodstream to other parts of the body that requires energy like the muscles and most importantly, the liver cells.

A person with diabetes has too much sugar in their blood which will cause the pancreas to fail in making enough insulin. Another reason is that the cells do not respond to the insulin while it could be due to both the problems too. There are 2 major types of diabetes which are Type 1 and Type 2 respectively. The former are more common among the younger age group where the body is unable to produce insulin and daily injections of this is required. The latter is the most common and is often found among adults due to lifestyle, food intake and other reasons.

Prevention
The most obvious way to prevent diabetes is by watching your diet. In fact, when it comes to diseases, preventing diabetes is perhaps the easiest although practicing it might be very challenging. To avoid developing diabetes, you must watch your weight so that you do not become obese. You need to lower your blood sugar level using every method possible. This is where you need to watch what you are eating and to ensure that you reduce the consumption of sugar whether as an ingredient or during cooking.

You need to exercise regularly in order to regulate and facilitate better blood circulation while ensuring that the minerals in your blood are evenly distributed. Exercising will boost your sensitivity to insulin and as such, helps in maintaining your blood sugar within a range which is regarded as ‘normal’. In your diet, ensure that you have plenty of fiber through vegetables and fruits while whole grains make a lot of difference too.

Diagnostics
Diabetes can occur to anyone and at any age. As such, anyone who has a BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 25 would be at risk of developing this disease. If you have a BMI above 25, then you should watch your weight and reduce to below that level or you should consult your doctor to find out if you might be having high blood pressure which could lead to diabetes. Apart from that, those who are above 45 years old would be recommended to go for blood sugar screening as people in this age group are usually the one in the high risk category. In most cases, a glycated hemoglobin test will be carried out while other known methods include a random blood sugar test and fasting blood sugar test to determine if the person has diabetes and if it is positive, to ascertain the next course of action or treatment required.

Statistics
In Malaysia, diabetes is one of the highest causes of health-related problems like kidney failure that required dialysis, irreversible blindness and leg amputation. Despite the growing research and positive results to cure diabetes, there has not much change around as people are still consuming sugar at an uncontrollable rate. The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011 showed that there has been an increase of 20.8% rate of diabetes from 5 years earlier. 10 years ago, it was 8.3% among adults above the age of 30 years old and 15 years before that was only 6.3%.

It has been reported that diabetes is the seventh highest cause of deaths in Malaysia in 2011 while it continues to be the in top 10 around the world. Diabetes is a common problem which is faced by people above 30 years of age which is largely due to the accumulation of blood sugar over many years of unhealthy diet and health practices. However, there have been reports in recent years where children suffered from diabetes which were contributed by hereditary reasons as well as unhealthy living conditions which required expensive and long-term medical treatment.

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