Diabetes and it’s complications

Posted on 14 Mar 2017 by Minmed Clinic (Jurong East)
Diabetes is common disease that can occur when a person has high glucose level in the blood. Let us walk through the measures to be taken in preventing further complication. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure! Start now, get moving and eat healthy! A healthy body, a happy mind!

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is common disease that can occur when a person has high glucose level in the blood.  When food is being consumed, glucose is formed during the digestion process. After which it will be absorbed into the body cells with the aid of a hormone known as insulin, produced in the pancreas. However, diabetic patients are not able to produce sufficient insulin or their body cell simply does not function properly resulting in accumulation of glucose in the blood.


So what are the several forms of diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes Gestational Diabetes
Insulin-dependent Non insulin-dependent  
Common in childhood and adolescence. Common in older adults.



Risk increases with age, ethnicity, obesity, family history, sedentary lifestyle.

Occurs temporarily during pregnancy period.
Requires insulin. Ineffective insulin action.




Requires insulin or oral medication.


Body’s requirement for insulin changes during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.


Likely to lead to type 2 diabetes in later life.



Signs & Symptoms

Type 2 may not be diagnosed for many years as the early symptoms of diabetes can be subtle or seemingly subtle. Hence, it is important to do regular health checkups.

Do consult a health professional if you show any signs and symptoms as stated above!

Furthermore, people living with diabetes may have to deal with further complications.




Short-term Complications (Acute)



A condition with unusual low blood glucose levels, usually less than 4 mmol/l. It can be due to excessive insulin/oral medications intake, insufficient or delayed food intake, improper timing of insulin with food intake, excessive physical activity and alcohol consumption without food.

Severe symptoms include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Lack of coordination or confusion
  • Headaches


Severe hypoglycemia is likely to cause accidents which may be life-threatening. Hence it is important to treat it immediately.

How do I do that?

Step 1: Consume 15-20g of fast-acting carbohydrates; avoid foods containing fat or protein as they slow down glucose absorption.

  • Glucose tablets (Follow the directions stated on the packaging)
  • ½ cup of fruit juice or non-diet soda
  • 1 tbsp sugar, honey or corn syrup
  • Usually 6-8 hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops (Do check the Nutritional Information Panel of the product for more info)


Step 2: After 15 min, recheck blood glucose level. If  less than 4mmol/l or symptoms persist, repeat step 1.

Step 3: Once blood glucose level is under control, consume a small snack if next meal is more than 1hr away.




Hyperglycemia / Ketoacidosis

When the body is resistant to insulin or has insulin deficiency.

Treatment should be immediate, as it can lead to coma and death.

You can lower your blood glucose level by exercising and cutting down food consumption. Check your urine for ketones when blood glucose level is more than 16.6mmol/l. If ketones are present, avoid exercising as it may increase your blood glucose level. If symptoms still persist, consult your doctor with regards to medication and insulin intake.








Long-term Complications (Chronic)


  • Eyesight problems and eye diseases
  • Gangrene that may result in amputations
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke/Heart attack
  • Nerves damage
  • Increased risk of dementia


What are the measures to be taken in preventing further complication?


  • To maintain blood glucose levels in normal range or close to normal range as much as possible.
  • Prevent or slow down the rate of developing chronic complications via lifestyle and nutrient intake modifications.
  • Achieve optimal weight, lipids profile and blood pressure levels.
  • For type 1 diabetes, integrate insulin therapy with individual’s usual eating and exercise habits.
  • For type 2 diabetes, overweight/obese patients should manage their weight by choosing healthier food choices. Meals should be consumed in smaller portion throughout the day instead of 2-3 big portioned meals.


As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure! So why risk it? Start now, get moving and eat healthy! A healthy body, a happy mind!