Just remember the acronym! By Dawn Chen
Photo: Rancz Andrei / www.123rf.com
According to the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB), one in three Singaporeans has a lifetime risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease where someone’s blood glucose levels remain consistently higher than normal. It can lead to more severe consequences like kidney failure and blindness if treatment is not sought in time.
Don’t let diabetes control your life. Here’s your four-step plan to beating diabetes – just remember the acronym BEAT.
First things first: Diabetes is actually a chronic disease that has no cure. It can only be managed and controlled with medication and lifestyle changes.
Diabetes is also not caused solely by eating too much sugar, as is popularly believed. It is caused by the body’s failure to produce enough insulin, which leads to high glucose levels. That said, a huge risk factor for diabetes is obesity as this causes increased insulin resistance. Keeping your weight in check can thus help to greatly lower your odds of getting the disease.
Don’t assume that something labelled “no added sugar” is safe to eat when you have diabetes. Oftentimes, sugar is replaced by artificial sweeteners that are just as bad – or worse.
Instead, follow a balanced diet that is high in fibre and wholegrain carbohydrates (such as brown rice). Do note that many fruits are high in sugar, so you should be getting a majority of your fibre from fresh veggies.
Watch out for liquid calories too. Make water your go-to thirst quencher, and avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks as much as possible.
Adopt an active lifestyle
We can’t emphasise this enough: move, move, move. The benefits of exercise and getting your 150 minutes of physical activity weekly will do you a world of good. For starters, you’ll be maintaining a healthy weight, lowering stress levels and keeping your heart happy.
Nowadays, it’s also easier than ever to get fit since HPB organises free weekly workouts across the island. Take part in mall aerobics, or join the Sundays @ the Park sweat sessions. For more information, click here.
Watch out for the signs and symptoms of diabetes. If you frequently experience the following, make an appointment to see your doctor. The sooner you identify the problem and manage it, the less severe the consequences.
- Feeling hungry all the time
- Feeling tired
- Having blurred vision
- Feeling thirsty despite drinking lots of water
- Losing weight despite good appetite
- Itching skin especially around the genital area
- Frequent passing of urine
- Poor healing of cuts and wounds
For more information about the Let’s Beat Diabetes campaign, click here.