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How To Win The War Against Diabetes

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How To Win The War Against Diabetes

Diabetes

In the medical condition diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough of the hormone insulin (as in type 1 diabetes) or can’t effectively use the insulin although it does make it excessively (ie insulin resistance). The result is an excess level of circulating blood glucose.

Insulin is a storage hormone. Every time a meal with significant carbohydrate content is consumed, insulin is secreted to move the sugar away from the blood and into the cells and into storage in the body in the form of glycogen and fats. Insulin prevents fat utilisation to favour storage mode.

Untreated high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.

Today’s focus is on type 2 or adult onset diabetes.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk. Carrying extra weight, especially in your belly, makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on your blood sugar.
Family members share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight. Both genes and environmental factors play a role in triggering diabetes. However, it is largely preventable as well as reversible at early stages.

Targeting insulin excess and resistance : 3 actionable tips for slightly obese early diabetics

1. Simply not eat if you are not hungry, and consider delaying the first meal on waking up till after 11am or 12noon.

2. Lower the carbohydrate content in foods. Major culprit includes added sugars/sugary treats cakes and pastries/highly refined carbohydrates in the form of polished grain/flour based products like rice/bread/noodles. Choose minimally processed whole foods, lean towards plant based foods for carbohydrates.

3. Increase in full bodily activity. Get on your feet. Minimise sedentary lifestyle.

Understanding yourself better: Like many people, you 

1. Do not like to be told what to do (if you are not ready for change in the first place)- especially if health advice is portrayed negatively : eg give up sugar in their coffee, bubble teas , their favourite ice creams and desserts, rice, noodles, pastas, bread…the list goes on)

2. Do not like scare tactics, despite knowing negative health behaviours gives negative health outcomes (eg “if you eat sugary stuff, you will get your legs amputated”, “ you will go blind”, “you will be hooked to dialysis machine for life”)

It starts with you

Many of us are now knowledge- sophisticated and internet savvy. We need a basic understanding of how the body works and have a philosophical road map to guide us in managing our health issues.

A big component is actually self-care

It begins with helping yourself via your own unique solution focused approach. (this can apply to weight issue/ diabetes and other chronic lifestyle related ailments)

If you are dealing with your own early diabetes condition, consider these:

1. Having a component of social incentive for your action- when knowing what others are doing, you want the same or better, hence it is good to have friends who might be embarking on the same health goals to spur each other on.

2. Having a personalised goal review- of what being better looks like to YOU--for example short term goals- feel the alleviation of symptoms and increase wellbeing, fitness, to long term -comfort knowing action is being taken to avoid debility in later years

3. Having competence in self-care--recall what worked well in your past to correct past ill health or negative behaviours- as well as exploring what will add to your knowledge on self-care, example self-reading on health promotion board articles from the internet.

4. Having incremental action- asking yourselves what small steps will you take towards the goal- a simple example: starting from kopi, progress to kopi-si, to kopi-si siu-tai, to kopisi-kosong..., transitioning from full bowl to three quarter or half bowl rice, from white rice to brown rice

5. Having immediate rewards- this tend to spur sustain efforts. A good example is current initiative by a telco to encourage 10000 steps a day in users- that gives the user 100 points a day and accumulating 1000points in a calendar month earns free 1GB data / or discount at participating stores.

6. Having progress monitoring- via health apps that plot health parameter trending /monitoring of blood glucose via glucometers.

Conclusion

Many times, we look at ‘’illness and disease’’ from a point of view of something external that entered the body that needs to be purged and eradicated. We can however look at it from a point of view of Dis-Ease or Disordered Function that can be put back in order with self-measures, whilst working together with help of trained medical personnel and the use of monitoring tools.

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dr lam wai khin

Dr Lam Wai Khin


Frontier Medical Associates (Buangkok)
Frontier Medical Associates (Yishun)

Publication: 22th November 2020

 

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