Diabetes is a major public health concern in Singapore, with one in three people being at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. This chronic condition poses a hidden danger as it often progresses silently, leaving the patient unaware of the necessary lifestyle and dietary adjustments for effective management.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. There are a few types of diabetes – Type I Diabetes, Type II Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. Each variety is slightly different in cause and impact on the body.
Type I Diabetes
Type I Diabetes is a chronic, predominantly genetic condition caused by inadequate insulin production in the pancreas. This leads to unregulated blood sugar levels.
Type II Diabetes
Type II Diabetes impacts the body’s ability to use insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. This condition can be prevented and managed through a healthy diet and weight management strategies.
Gestational Diabetes develops in certain pregnant women due to hormonal changes that affect blood sugar level regulation. Blood sugar levels normally return to normal levels after pregnancy but can put the woman at risk for Type II Diabetes.
Importance of getting a diabetes test
Early symptoms of diabetes, like increased thirst or slow healing of wounds, can often go unnoticed. Getting a diabetes test can put you at ease and encourage you to take the right steps to take control of your health. Those with a family history of diabetes, pancreatic diseases or lead a dormant lifestyle are especially at high risk of diabetes. Camtech provides HbA1c testing to detect the possible presence and severity of hyperglycemia that could imply diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Apart from testing for the presence of diabetes, getting tested can also give you a better idea if your management plan has any impact on your blood sugar levels so you can adapt it accordingly.
Early detection of diabetes is important to prevent complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, nerve damage, and blindness.
Who Should Undergo a Diabetes Screening?
Early detection and timely management are crucial for preventing complications associated with diabetes. But who should get tested for diabetes?
Overweight or Obese Individuals
Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Excess body fat around the abdomen increases insulin resistance and impairs glucose metabolism. If you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 or a waist circumference exceeding 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men, you should strongly consider getting tested for diabetes.
Individuals with a Sedentary Lifestyle
Physical inactivity is closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, improves insulin sensitivity, and enhances overall metabolic health. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity, it is advisable to undergo diabetes screening to assess your risk.
With a Family History of Diabetes
A family history of diabetes can significantly increase your risk of developing the condition. If you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with diabetes, you should consider getting tested. Genetic factors can play a role in predisposing individuals to diabetes, so it is important to be proactive about your health if diabetes runs in your family.
People aged 45 and up
Age is an important risk factor for diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after the age of 45. If you are over 45 years old, it is recommended to undergo regular diabetes screening, even if you do not have any other risk factors.
Individuals with Gestational Diabetes or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy or have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Regular screening for diabetes is advised for these individuals to monitor their blood sugar levels and detect any early signs of diabetes.
Individuals with High Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol
Having high blood pressure (hypertension) or high cholesterol levels can increase your risk of developing diabetes. These conditions often coexist and contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, which are closely linked to diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or have high cholesterol levels, it is recommended to get tested for diabetes as well.
When should I get a diabetes test in Singapore?
The recommended testing frequency varies depending on your diabetes management plan and your doctor’s recommendations. Here are some general guidelines on the frequency of testing as a starting point.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), those with Type II Diabetes who are not on insulin therapy are recommended to test HBA1c levels at least twice a year. If HbA1C level is greater than 7%, your healthcare provider may adjust your diabetes management plan. This could mean changes to your lifestyle, including your diet, exercise regime, and medication.
For individuals with Type I Diabetes, the ADA recommends testing HbA1c levels at least four times a year, with a target HbA1c level of less than 7.5%.
Those on insulin therapy or those changing their diabetes management plan may need to have their HbA1c levels tested more frequently to monitor the effect of the treatment levels on their blood sugar levels.
Diagnostic Screening for Diabetes
Screening for diabetes typically involves several tests that measure blood glucose levels and assess the body’s ability to regulate glucose effectively. The following are commonly used diagnostic tests for diabetes:
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test
This test measures blood glucose levels after an overnight fast of at least 8 hours. A result of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher on two separate occasions indicates diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
This test involves measuring fasting glucose levels and administering a sugary drink. Blood glucose levels are then measured periodically over the next two hours. A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher after two hours confirms a diabetes diagnosis.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test
This test provides an average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of glucose attached to hemoglobin in red blood cells. A result of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests typically indicates diabetes.
It’s important to note that the American Diabetes Association recommends confirming a diabetes diagnosis with a second test, especially if the initial test result is not clear or if symptoms are absent.
Get a Diabetes Test in Singapore from Camtech
Take the first step to taking control of your health by getting a diabetes test delivered to you. Camtech’s home-based diabetes test kit will give you better insight on your blood sugar levels over the past three months so you can make wiser decisions for your health.