Diabetes

Table of Contents

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs due to the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin that your body needs. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and functions as a hormone that controls the levels of your blood sugar. A person with diabetes has excess glucose in their body.

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is when the sugar levels increase because the pancreas does not function optimally. The  pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin required by the body.

Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes is when the sugar levels increase due to different factors. The pancreas can produce enough insulin, but the body does not effectively use the insulin.

Causes of Diabetes

1. Unhealthy Eating Habits

In the midst of a busy life, many people would not care enough to maintain a balanced diet. Instead of eating healthy foods, they turn to fast food. Fast food or junk food have the potential to trigger diabetes and other diseases.

In addition to fast food, snacking can also cause diabetes. For example, chips, pastries or sweets that are high in hydrates are classified as a high glycemic index – food groups that can cause diabetes.

2. Lazy lifestyle

Physical activity is important to maintain your health. An unhealthy diet combined with laziness to move can lead to excess fat or obesity. Diabetes is often associated with obesity.

Routine exercise will increase the sensitivity of your muscles to use insulin in controlling your sugar levels. This way, your body can produce insulin effectively and balance the blood sugar levels.

3. Stress and Depression

Stress and depression are psychological symptoms that also have an impact on your physical health. When you are stressed, there is an increased production of epinephrine and cortisol hormones. This is to increase your blood sugar as energy reserves.

Your blood sugar levels will overproduce – which can lead to diabetes.

Therefore, coping with stress is important for your mental health as well as your physical health. Routine exercise can be a solution to reduce stress, maintain your fitness, and ultimately prevent diabetes.

Apart from the three factors above, diabetes can also be hereditary.

When to See a Doctor for Diabetes?

You may see a general practitioner to consult about your diabetes complaints or symptoms. 

Thereafter, you may be referred to other specialist doctors such as: 

Internist/Endocrinologist

First, the general practitioner will perform a urine test to diagnose the disease. After the doctor can confirm that you have diabetes, the general practitioner will refer you to an internal medicine specialist (internist) or an endocrinologist.

An internist or endocrinologist will prescribe medications and advise the most suitable treatment. If diabetes has reached a more complex stage (affecting the kidneys or heart), your internist/endocrinologist will work with other specialists.

Podiatrist and Physiotherapist

In general, diabetes sufferers will experience vascular disease or blood vessel disease. It is a medical condition of the blocked blood flow to small vessels. As foot surgeons, podiatrists can also treat diabetes. If you develop a foot ulcer or other infections due to diabetes, the podiatrist will monitor and provide appropriate treatment methods. 

On the other hand, a physiotherapist is a professional who has an in-depth understanding of physical activities required by a person, including a diabetic.

To overcome diabetes, you can try to get more physical exercise in. Consult a physiotherapist who is more experienced dealing with diabetes patients.

Second Opinion

If you have diabetes, you may consult with more than one specialist doctor. 

Seeking a second opinion from specialist doctors in Malaysia or Singapore? Smarter Health can help:

  • Recommend a specialist doctor
  • Check the doctor’s schedule and book an appointment
  • Calculate the estimated treatment cost
  • Arrange for airport transfers

Symptoms of Diabetes

1. Excessive Thirst and Increased Urination 

Excessive thirst and increased urge to urinate can indicate a person has diabetes. Both are common diabetes symptoms.

When you have diabetes, your kidneys are not able to absorb the excess levels of glucose in your body. As a result, the excess glucose is excreted by the kidneys through urine.

Then, the water levels in your body will decrease drastically. This causes diabetic people to have excessive thirst. 

2. Drastic Weight Loss 

Another symptom of diabetes is significant weight loss – exceeding 5% of your total body weight. This weight loss occurs due to the breakdown of muscle and fat as a substitute for insulin. If your weight drops dramatically for no apparent reason,  you could be dealing with diabetes.

3. Slow-healing Wounds

In people with diabetes, the artery walls become narrow and thicken. As a result, this blocks the oxygen flow to the blood. The wound becomes difficult to heal because it does not receive sufficient oxygen in the blood.

Treatment for Diabetes

To recover from diabetes, it is strongly encouraged that you start living a healthier lifestyle. You can start with eating healthy foods. 

For people with type 1 diabetes, you need insulin therapy to regulate your daily blood sugar.

Insulin therapy is done through injections into the lower layers of the skin 3-4 times a day. You will also need to check your eye health and treat any foot conditions to prevent further complications.

For people with type 2 diabetes, your doctor will generally prescribe medications. 

The most common oral medication is metformin – which works to reduce your liver’s ability to produce glucose. Additionally, you are also recommended to have a healthier diet,

Treatment Cost for Diabetes

The cost for Diabetes treatment varies – depending on the medical treatment recommended by the doctor. 

If you already know the type of treatment required, Smarter Health can help you calculate the estimated treatment costs.  

Prevention of Diabetes

As the adage goes – prevention is better than cure.

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent type 1 diabetes. The exact cause is unknown.

For type 2 diabetes, prevention can be done by maintaining a balanced diet that suits your health condition. Other preventive measures include avoiding consuming sweet or sugary foods and drinks; exercising regularly; and quitting smoking.

Treatment for Patients Diagnosed with Diabetes

Treatment for diabetes will depend on the type and the complexity of diabetes suffered. Generally, the initial treatment is to take medication as prescribed by the doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe oral medications or injectable medications. Your doctor will also monitor the progress of the treatment. 

Furthermore, treatment can also be done by improving your lifestyle. The first few steps in treating diabetes also include eating right, scheduling regular exercises, and getting plenty of rest.

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