Don’t fall victim to this silent killer

DIABETES is often called the silent killer because it goes undetected until it has caused serious health problems. Alarmingly, diabetes also affects the heart, making this a double-edged sword.

Those with Type 2 diabetes have up to four times the risk of cardiovascular disease, so it pays to keep track of your health. For those who already have diabetes, a lifestyle change is required in order to keep their condition under control and prevent further complications from developing.

'Living Healthy with Diabetes' shed light on diabetes prevention and management.'Living Healthy with Diabetes' shed light on diabetes prevention and management.

In this vein, Watsons together with Star Media Group recently held an online talk on “Living Healthy with Diabetes” on Nov 26 to help share information that would benefit those living with the condition.

Participants of the talk also enjoyed promotions on products to help manage diabetes and live a healthy life.

During the session, consultant endocrinologist Dr Shalini C Shree Dharan spoke on diabetes and preventive measures, as well as lifestyle and dietary adjustments that should be made.

The talk, which was moderated by Watsons pharmacist Ruby Tay, shed light on diabetes prevention and management with the intention of helping those predisposed to diabetes or are living with diabetes to lead a healthy life in spite of their condition.

Diabetes can cause major complications that affect the heart, brain, extremities as well as the eyes and kidneys. It also causes neuropathy where hyperglycemia damages the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, leading to pain or numbness.

WHO statistics show that an overwhelming 50% to 80% of diabetes patients die from cardiovascular disease. In fact, Dr Shalini notes that with evidence linking diabetes to heart disease, cardiologists now are also actively treating their patients’ diabetes to help prevent progression towards heart complications.

Dr Shalini: 'Diabetes can develop in as little as six months of being sedentary.'Dr Shalini: 'Diabetes can develop in as little as six months of being sedentary.'

She advises, “If you notice symptoms such as difficulty breathing, easily panting and easily fatigued, do get screened for heart failure.”

Dr Shalini also notes an alarming 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in diabetes patients 20 years old and above and that 70% of Covid-related deaths are due to diabetes as an underlying condition.

The National Health And Morbidity survey has indicated that 50% of Malaysians are not aware they have diabetes. Dr Shalini attributes this to lack of frequent medical check-up.

She says, “Diabetes can develop in as little as six months of being sedentary, binging on sugary food or drinks and high-carb food. This lifestyle was prevalent during the pandemic, so just because you weren’t diabetic pre-pandemic, it doesn’t mean you won’t develop it.”

Those who are overweight or obese, or have a family history of diabetes rank in the high-risk group for this condition alongside those living a sedentary lifestyle and are not physically active. For mothers, they are also at risk if they have a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

A normal blood glucose level for adults without diabetes (fasting) is less than 100 mg/dL and is 90 to 110 mg/dL two hours after eating. Meanwhile, for children under six years of age, their blood glucose levels should range from about 80 to 200 mg/dL.

It is important to get an annual glucose check or venous blood test, especially if you fall into the high-risk group or notice you have high glucose levels – an indication of prediabetes.

Meanwhile, you can also make efforts to adjust your lifestyle and diet to minimise the risk of diabetes. Change to a healthier diet that includes lots of fibre-rich whole grains as well as nutrient-rich and non-starchy vegetables. It is also recommended to take lean protein as well as plant-based protein.

You should also establish an exercise routine to keep active with about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.

You would also be well-advised to manage your stress levels, as stress can not only spike your blood sugar levels, but also increase your blood pressure and speed up your heart rate – this could very well affect your diabetes management.

A customer getting the glucose check.A customer getting the glucose check.

In the interest of health, Watsons conducted free glucose checks for customers at its stores.

Customers may also get a simple health check at Watsons health stores.Customers may also get a simple health check at Watsons health stores.

Meanwhile, customers can get a simple health check at their nearest Watsons health store such as blood glucose test, cholesterol test, uric acid test, lipid profile test and such.

You can also enjoy a seamless four-step doctor consultation and get medication via Watsons eDoctor.

Have a general question for health and products? Get an online chat with a Watsons Pharmacist and get your questions answered today.

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