Diabetes in Malaysia is on the rise every year, and it is worrying that some people may not even realize they have the disease. Contrary to popular belief, diabetes does not discriminate based on age, with 5.5% of cases recorded among those aged 18-19, and two out of five senior citizens between 70 to 74 years old also suffering from this dangerous disease. Is it important to raise awareness about diabetes and its risks, and to ensure that those affected can access health insurance coverage for their condition.
Diabetes in Malaysia: A Silent Killer?
The disease of diabetes, also known as “kencing manis” in Malay, is a disease that is no longer unfamiliar, especially in our country, Malaysia. In Malaysia, there are three prevalent diseases: heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Statistics show that about 3.9 million individuals aged 18 and above have diabetes. The number of people with diabetes is the fourth highest in Asia.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that can damage internal organs such as the kidneys, heart, brain, nerves, eyes, skin, and more. There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1: Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes results in the sufferer becoming dependent on insulin injections. This is due to an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and damages the cells that produce insulin, rendering the pancreas unable to produce the hormone in sufficient amounts. Approximately one in ten diabetes patients have type 1, and they require daily insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
Type 2: Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, does not depend on insulin, and the majority of diabetes patients have this type. This type is often associated with obesity, which can cause insulin resistance and result in high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is often referred to as a silent killer because it can only be detected after complications have occurred.
Can Diabetes Patients Get Insurance Protection?
Actually, individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes and do not have prior insurance coverage may find it difficult to obtain protection. Many insurance companies will outright reject an applicant who has this condition. They will not offer insurance coverage plans because diabetes is one of the most expensive diseases compared to other common illnesses.
The costs can escalate due to complications caused by diabetes. Moreover, with an average annual medical inflation rate of 10 percent, the cost of medical treatment for complications resulting from diabetes is expected to skyrocket.
This is why it is crucial to prepare for insurance protection, such as medical insurance or health insurance. The earlier, the better. Do not wait until we get sick. This is because the risk of Malaysians contracting diabetes is extremely high. Malaysia is well-known for its variety of delicious foods, and dietary habits are one of the reasons why many Malaysians are at risk of developing diabetes. The complications resulting from this disease should not be underestimated. It can damage vital organs in the body, and medical and treatment costs are expected to be very high.
If we do not have early protection, we may have to use our own money for long-term treatments because controlling diabetes is not easy, let alone fully recovering from this dangerous disease.
7 Causes of Diabetes
Diabetes can be caused by various factors, not just food. These are some of the causes of diabetes that Qoala can share:
1. High Sugar Intake
It is common knowledge that the main cause of diabetes is a high intake of sugar. However, do not think that the meaning of sugar intake here is just sugar. Other foods that have high sugar content can also be a cause. Among the foods that have high sugar content without us realizing are honey, pastries, bananas, and various others. These foods have a high glycemic index. Most drinks on the market also use sweeteners such as glucose or corn syrup, which have high fructose content.
2. Refined Carbs
Consuming refined carbs is also one of the causes of diabetes. Refined carbs also include bread, cereal, white rice, and pasta. Not being Malaysian if you don’t eat rice properly, right? Rice can be made into nasi lemak, nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, and various other delicious dishes. Many individuals take rice as their main source of carbohydrates and energy. However, rice is also the cause of many people having diabetes due to its high starch content.
3. Lack of Exercise
Lack of exercise leads to various diseases including diabetes. Some individuals have a habit of eating continuously without any exercise with the excuse that the amount of food they eat is small. Even if it’s a little, the frequency of eating also requires us to exercise. Especially if we are someone who likes to eat unhealthy foods like burgers, pizza, fried chicken, and various others.
4. Family History of Disease
Another cause of diabetes is a family history of disease. If your family has diabetes, you are also at high risk of developing the same disease. And if your mother has type 2 diabetes, you also have a 40% higher risk of getting it. Whereas if both your mother and father have this disease, your risk is at 80%.
5. Not Eating Vegetables and Fruits
Not to scare anyone, but individuals who are lazy and have a hard time eating vegetables and fruits are not only at risk of developing diabetes, but also other diseases. If you are someone who doesn’t like to eat vegetables, try starting to eat them now. At first, it may be bitter and unpleasant, but over time, you will definitely get used to it. You have to start now because of the various risks that we can get if we don’t eat vegetables because our bodies need the nutrients from these vegetables.
6. Gestational Diabetes and Prediabetes
Gestational diabetes is a situation where your blood sugar levels rise only when you are pregnant and not due to having had diabetes before. However, it can also cause individuals to develop type 2 diabetes.
During pregnancy, the placenta hormone can cause blood sugar levels to rise. If insulin production is unable to accommodate the sugar levels in the blood, it can cause the individual to develop type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. However, blood sugar readings will usually return to normal shortly after giving birth. But it is still at risk of becoming type 2 diabetes if sugar intake is not well controlled.
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are high even though the recorded reading is normal. What is worrying is that individuals can have prediabetes for several years without any symptoms. This is what is meant by many who are not aware that they have diabetes until complications occur.
7. Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance, also known as insulin resistance, is a situation where the normal amount of insulin is no longer sufficient to produce a normal insulin response to fat cells, muscles, and the liver. Insulin resistance in fat cells reduces insulin efficiency and effectiveness, thereby reducing glucose uptake and storage. This condition can lead to high blood sugar levels and eventually diabetes.
Early Signs of Diabetes
The early signs of diabetes actually depend on the level of sugar content in the blood.
1. Frequent Urination
The condition of frequent urination is also known as polyuria. You will often urinate when your kidneys are no longer able to process high levels of glucose in your blood. As a result, your kidneys will eliminate some of it through urine.
Therefore, if you always urinate frequently, don’t forget to undergo further examination.
2. Frequent Thirst
One of the early signs of diabetes is feeling thirstier than usual. This is also related to the frequent urination. When we frequently urinate, our body will certainly experience a shortage of water, thus causing thirst. Furthermore, if the blood sugar level is too high, it can also make you feel thirsty more often. It will also make you feel unsatisfied even though you have drunk plenty of water.
3. Dark Spots on the Skin
In addition, dark spots on the skin are also early signs of diabetes. These spots often occur in areas around the neck, armpits, and also in the groin area. The skin of a person with diabetes will also become thicker than usual. The presence of these black spots is due to excess insulin in the blood.
4. Slow Wound Healing
If you have any wounds and the wound healing process is slow, it can also be an early sign of diabetes. One of the main reasons why the wound takes longer to heal is due to our own blood vessels.
High blood sugar levels will narrow the blood vessels and automatically slow down blood flow. This will cause the wound area to be blocked from getting enough oxygen to heal quickly. Not only that, high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time can also hinder the immune system from growing. Therefore, the body needs more time to fight infections in the wound.
5. Frequent Hunger
Why can you feel hungry quickly? This is because the cells in the body will use glucose as an energy source so that the cells can continue to function properly. However, if this system is damaged due to diabetes, the cells in the body can no longer absorb glucose from the blood.
As a result, the cells in the body will look for other energy sources which will make us feel hungry quickly.
6. Distorted Vision
Diabetes patients often experience vision problems, some even becoming blind. The early sign is that your vision may become blurry and hazy due to diabetes. It can be seen when blood sugar levels are too high, it can also damage the small blood vessels in the eyes. This causes fluid in the eyes to seep into the lens, resulting in blurred vision.
7. Nerve Pain
Having diabetes for a long period of time without realizing it can cause pain in the body’s nerves. This situation is also known as diabetic neuropathy. A body that has nerve problems will often feel numb or tingling. Some parts of the body that often feel numb are the hands, fingers, and feet.
Controlling Blood Sugar Levels in the Body
It is not too late to take care of ourselves from getting diabetes. These are some ways to control blood sugar levels in the body.
Exercise has many benefits. In terms of diabetes, it can help to reduce weight and increase insulin sensitivity. If insulin sensitivity in the body increases, it means that the body cells will use the sugar in the bloodstream better. Regular exercise can also prevent various other diseases if done consistently.
Control Carbohydrate Intake
Did you know that our body will break down carbohydrates into sugar and then insulin will move sugar into cells in the body? Taking too many carbs will complicate this process and cause glucose levels in the blood to increase.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends controlling carbohydrate intake by counting carbs or using a food exchange system. Therefore, plan your diet to be able to control sugar levels in the body.
Increase Fiber Intake
What’s interesting about fiber is that it can slow down carbohydrate digestion and sugar absorption. Therefore, by taking a lot of fiber, it will gradually increase blood sugar levels. For your information, there are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble fiber. Both are important, but soluble fiber is more proven to control blood sugar levels.
Some foods that are high in fiber are vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.
Recommended Serving Size
By controlling the serving size of food, it can help to control calorie intake and can also help us lose weight. With controlled weight, it will cause blood sugar levels to be healthy and reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Not only that, controlling serving size can also help us to reduce blood sugar levels in a healthy way.
Sleep not only needs to be enough, it also needs to be of good quality to ensure good health. Unhealthy sleep habits and lack of rest can be a factor in increasing blood sugar levels in the body and insulin sensitivity. It can increase appetite and lead to weight gain. Lack of sleep can also cause a lack of growth hormone release and increase cortisol hormone, which is a stress hormone.
In conclusion, diabetes can be prevented and controlled. For better protection, make sure to contribute to medical insurance while healthy because we don’t know what will happen in the future. When it already happens, what we can do is to control the disease to prevent severe complications.
In addition, if you want to get the best health insurance, visit the Qoala website for more information. Qoala provides a range of medical and health insurance products from some of the best and most popular insurance companies in Malaysia with easy, fast, and secure processes. Additionally, you can also get car insurance, motorcycle insurance, and home insurance at Qoala!