General Health – Sleep, Diabetes

Sleep to let your body repair

SINGAPORE – For those who have lost sleep over work – you are not the only one.
Long hours and stress at work can keep people, fretting about incomplete projects, looming deadlines and the next day’s line-up of meetings, wide awake at night.
A hectic work schedule, along with a heavy workload, were found to be the reasons behind disturbed sleep and fatigue among 18,828 working adults in a 2002 study in Sweden.

But it is an inevitable truth that we are simply not getting enough sleep. One in three people here is getting too little sleep, to the extent that it affects his health, according to an editorial published in a local medical journal last year. This is nothing to yawn about, for insufficient or poor-quality sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes and even a greater risk of getting into traffic accidents……

Generally, adults are advised to get about seven hours of sleep daily. But there are people who, despite their efforts, simply have difficulties getting a good night’s rest. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea, can cause fractured or restless sleep. For them, it would be important to arrest their problem before mishaps happen as a result of fatigue.

It is a good time to reflect on whether your working habits are cutting into your much-needed rest time. If so, scale back and go to bed earlier. Who knows, you might even perform better at work after a good, long snooze.


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease where the body does not make or does not use insulin properly, resulting in having too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. Sugar comes from the food we eat. The body needs sugar to make energy. The amount of sugar in the blood of a normal person is closely controlled by a substance called insulin. Insulin is made by the pancreas, a gland found below the stomach. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work well. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood.

Over time, high sugar levels can give rise to problems like infections, blindness, kidney disorders, stroke, heart disease, and foot and leg disorders.

Who gets diabetes?
About 9% of the adult population in Singapore have diabetes. Diabetes can affect people of any age or race. However, 90% of people with diabetes are over 40 years old.
Some risks of diabetes mellitus include:
• Family history
• Overweight
• More than 40 years of age
• Pregnancy
• Exposure to a trigger mechanism (a virus or chemical substance)
Types of Diabetes Mellitus
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 (Insulin-dependent diabetes)
Persons with Type 1 diabetes cannot control their blood sugar properly because their pancreas produces little or no insulin.
They need insulin injections to control their blood sugars. It usually happens to young people. It can also occur in older adults, but less commonly.

Type 2 (Non-insulin dependent diabetes)
About 80% of all persons with diabetes belong to this group. They can produce insulin, but their body does not use it effectively.
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by diet, exercise and medicines. If these fail, insulin injections may be needed.

Symptoms of Diabetes
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms associated with diabetes, immediately consult your healthcare professional.
• Increased urination
• Blurred vision
• Fatigue or drowsiness
• Poorly healing cuts or bruises
• Increased hunger and thirst
• Rapid weight loss
• Nausea and vomiting
• Dry, itchy skin
• Loss of feeling in hands or feet

At present, no cure is available for diabetes. But with regular self-monitoring of blood glucose and a proper combination of diet, exercise and medication, people with diabetes lead active, healthy lives.

Prevention of Diabetes
People with diabetes can live a healthy life. Research studies have found that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults.