Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms & Complications

According to a survey conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) last year, approximately 10.5% of Singapore’s population suffers from diabetes. This figure is the second-highest among developed nations, behind the United States (10.7%).

A National Health Survey done by the Ministry of Health in 2010 shows that 1 in every 9 Singaporeans between the ages of 18 – 69 are affected by diabetes. Diabetes is also among the top ten causes of death in Singapore, leading to more than 2% of total deaths every year.

What is diabetes?

A condition whereby our body is not able to produce enough insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas), diabetes leads to a higher than normal level of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream.

In order to function optimally, our body will need glucose which comes from the food we consume. When the food we consume is turned into glucose, insulin is released to help transport glucose to the cells. For those with diabetes, the body, owing to various reasons, stops making or using insulin properly, thereby resulting in having too much or too little glucose in the blood.

If not treated properly, diabetes can lead to several other severe conditions like blindness, infections, kidney disorders, heart disease, and leg or foot disorders.

Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes include but are not limited to:

  • Weakened eyesight
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant fatigue or weariness
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Fast and unexplained loss of weight
  • Fungal infections that make the skin dry and itchy
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Nausea

It is highly recommended that you see your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, as elevated sugar levels in the blood get absorbed from your body and pose major risks to your health and safety.

 

Did you know that there are various types of diabetes? Find out what they are on the next page. 

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