High proportion of diabetics a big concern

It is sad that Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics in the developed world ("S'pore 'has 2nd-highest proportion of diabetics'"; Wednesday).

As a diabetic living in Singapore and someone active in trying to educate people on the need to make lifestyle changes, I find the level of awareness of the dangers of the disease and the need for good nutrition to be very limited.

However, with a few simple changes, people can avoid the disease, or manage it better if they are already diabetic.

Avoiding sugary drinks and food, limiting carbohydrates, and exercising regularly are vital.

Learning to read food labels and being careful about what you eat - particularly at hawker stalls - are key ways to keep blood sugars in check.

Diabetes is not a disease to be taken lightly. But it seems that people start caring only when it is too late, often when complications, such as kidney disease and eye problems, have already set in.

Managing diabetes is just as much, if not more, about lifestyle as it is about medication and doctors' advice.

In this day and age, with so much information freely available on the Internet, it is sad that people remain largely ignorant of this disease.

The steps to better health are relatively simple, and Singapore's high ranking on the global diabetes chart is something we should urgently tackle.

We should all play our part in tackling this problem, so that we can help our loved ones, before the situation gets worse.

This is one area where Singapore should not be aiming for first place.

Matt Pasterfield

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'High proportion of diabetics a big concern'. Print Edition | Subscribe