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Here’s How to Control and Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition where your blood sugar levels remain persistently high. It can lead to serious complications if left undetected and untreated. Of the several types of diabetes that afflict Singaporeans, Type 2 Diabetes is the most common. The good news is that it is also controllable and preventable.

Related: HealthHub’s Diabetes Hub

About Type 2 Diabetes

A close-up shot of a glucometer with the test strip inserted

Diabetes occurs when your body is either producing too little insulin or unable to respond well to the insulin produced. As insulin is an important hormone that converts the sugar from your bloodstream to energy, your body needs sufficient amounts of it to function properly.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs more frequently in people over the age of 40, especially those who are overweight and do not exercise. Those with high blood pressure, abnormal blood cholesterol levels, or a family history of diabetes are also at risk.

Symptoms and Complications

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Common symptoms are:

  • Frequent thirst despite drinking lots of water
  • Constant hunger
  • Constant tiredness
  • Itchy skin especially around the genital area
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden weight loss despite having a good appetite
  • Poor healing of cuts and wounds

Diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can lead to serious and long-term complications such as:

  • Coronary heart disease such as angina, heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Foot diseases such as numbness, ulcers, gangrene and even lower extremity amputations

Related: Diabetes and Stress Problems

Detecting Diabetes

A sample blood test and urine test on top of a Laboratory report

If you are 40 years and above, it is recommended that you go for screening once every 3 years. As with most illnesses, early detection is critical in successfully managing its condition. Ask your family doctor for a screening test which will reveal whether you have diabetes or if you are pre-diabetic (which is when you have slightly higher-than-normal sugar level in your blood).


  • If you are 40 years and above, you can get tested for diabetes through the Health Promotion Board (HPB)’s Screen for Life
  • If you are between 18-39 years old, take the Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) to assess if you require screening.
  • You can also get advice on managing diabetes from a Nurse Adviser by calling HPB’s HealthLine at 1800 223 1313. The HealthLine is open between 8.30am and 5pm on weekdays, and between 8.30am and 1pm on Saturdays. The HealthLine is available in four languages.

Related: Diabetes: What’s the Big Deal?

Preventing Diabetes

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A better way to prevent the illness is to make some simple lifestyle adjustments today. You can start by:

  • Following up with your doctor and getting monitored regularly
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your stress by learning to relax
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy BMI of between 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2

Observing a healthy lifestyle will help you better control your blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight, and as a result, reduce or delay your risk of developing diabetes.

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