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Living With Diabetes

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

It is reported that some 3.6 million Malaysians are suffering from diabetes, the highest rate of incidence in Asia. The prevalence of diabetes in Malaysia is expected to increase, especially type two diabetes, which is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

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Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. In the past 3 decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself.

Here are some ways to help manage living with diabetes.

Eat Well

Managing blood sugar is the key to living well with diabetes, and eating well is the key to managing blood sugar. But what does it mean to eat well? Simply eat healthy food in the right amount at the right time so your blood sugar stays in your target range as much as possible.

Work with your dietitian or diabetes educator to create a healthy eating plan.

  1. Diabetes Meal Planning : Include more nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and green beans. Include fewer added sugar and refined grains, such as white bread, rice, and pasta with less than 2 grams of fiber per serving. Focus on whole food instead of highly processed food as much as possible.

  2. Grocery Shopping : Healthy eating starts at the grocery store. But successful shopping isn’t always as simple as it seems. Your goal? To get the best deals on the healthiest, tastiest food. Use a shopping list to help you stay focused on buying food that fit your meal plan and budget.

  3. Food Labels : Understanding the Nutrition Facts label on food items can help you make healthier choices. The label breaks down the amount of calories, carbs, fat, fiber, protein, and vitamins per serving of the food, making it easier to compare the nutrition of similar products. Be sure to look at different brands of the same food nutrition information can differ a lot. For example, one brand of tomato sauce may have more calories and sugar than another brand for the same serving size.

  4. Eating Out : While you can’t directly control the way the food is prepared or the calories in each dish, you can plan ahead, ask questions, and order food that both tastes good and is good for you. With practice, it’ll get easier to separate the healthier choices from the not so healthy and to keep portions under control.

  5. Carb Counting : Counting carbohydrates, or carbs—keeping track of the carbs in all your meals, snacks, and drinks—can help you match your activity level and medicines to the food you eat. Many people with diabetes count carbs to make managing blood sugar easier, which can also help them stay healthy longer, feel better and improve their quality of life; and prevent or delay diabetes complications such as kidney disease, eye disease, heart disease, and stroke.

Maintain Healthy Weight

You may not get down to the number you saw on the scale 20 years ago, but you can still get to a weight that enhances your health and your life.

First, what does “healthy weight” mean to you? Is it the weight you think you should be? The same as you weighed 20 years ago? We can’t provide an exact number for you personally, but we can give you some pointers on how to get to a weight that’s healthy for you and stay there.

Two ways to get a ballpark idea if your weight is healthy or not: body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

BMI measures your height compared to your weight. For example, a person who is 170cm and weighs 170 pounds has a BMI of 26.6, which is in the overweight range:

Weight Status



Less than 18.5






30 or greater

But experts note that BMI doesn’t measure belly fat, and that’s important. Too much belly fat can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Waist circumference (waist size) takes belly fat into account and helps predict your risk of health problems from being overweight. Women whose waist measures more than 35 inches and men whose waist measures more than 40 inches are at higher risk. Losing weight can reduce belly fat and lower that risk!

Being More Active Is Better for You

If you have diabetes, being active makes your body more sensitive to insulin (the hormone that allows cells in your body to use blood sugar for energy), which helps manage your diabetes. Physical activity also helps control blood sugar levels and lowers your risk of heart disease and nerve damage.

Some additional benefits include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Losing weight, if needed

  • Feeling happier

  • Sleeping better

  • Improving your memory

  • Controlling your blood pressure

  • Lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol

The goal is to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. One way to do this is to try to fit in at least 20 to 25 minutes of activity every day. Also, on 2 or more days in a week, include activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Examples of moderate-intensity physical activities include:

  • Walking briskly

  • Doing housework

  • Mowing the lawn

  • Dancing

  • Swimming

  • Bicycling

  • Playing Sports

These activities work your large muscles, increase your heart rate, and make you breathe harder, which are important goals for fitness. Stretching helps to make you flexible and prevent soreness after being physically active.

Manage Blood Sugar

It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels in your target range as much as possible to help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. Staying in your target range can also help improve your energy and mood. Find answers below to common questions about blood sugar for people with diabetes.

Use a blood sugar meter (also called a glucometer) or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, you’ll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.

Typical times to check your blood sugar include:

  • When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.

  • Before a meal.

  • Two hours after a meal.

  • At bedtime.

If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after you’re physically active.

Prevent Diabetes Complications

Even though diabetes can lead to other health problems, you can prevent or delay these complications in many ways. Common diabetes health complications include

  • heart disease

  • chronic kidney disease

  • nerve damage

  • problems with feet

  • oral health

  • vision

  • hearing

  • mental health.

Here are some of the Vitamode supplements that help prevent diabetes complications.

Vitamode® Purslane Plus Capsule is a blend of Portusana® purslane herb extract, cinnamon extract and bitter melon extract that is ideal for general health maintenance and improving metabolism of the body.

Recommended for individuals :

  • Who has T2DM or pre-diabetes

  • With a family history of metabolic syndrome and T2DM

  • With a sweet tooh

  • Who wish to maintain optimal health and improve quality of life

  • With irregular or unhealthy blood sugar levels

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