Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 20, 2007

Expert: Go for annual blood sugar tests

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:57 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Those above 35 years of age are advised to check their blood glucose level annually, even if they do not have any symptoms of diabetes.
“Don’t wait until symptoms set in. It will be too late by then,” said Universiti Sains Malaysia senior consultant endocrinologist Datuk Dr Mafauzy Mohamed.
Diabetes could set in as far back as 10 years before symptoms appear, he said, adding that it was the sixth leading cause of death in the world.
He said that around 40% of heart attacks was due to diabetes, which was also the number one cause of kidney failure, blindness in adults and amputation, while 60% to 70% of patients suffered nerve damage.
He was speaking at A Diabetes Outcome Progression Trial media briefing yesterday.
“It is not a mild disease but a dangerous and deadly one,” he said.
The 1986 National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed that 6.3% of adults suffered from diabetes and, last year, the figure had almost doubled, he said.
The best way to combat diabetes is to control it at the pre-diabetic stage, where blood sugar level after fasting is 6% to 7%, or 7.8% to 11.1% two hours after a meal, he said.
“If nothing is done, the risk of getting diabetes will increase by 10% each year. If detected early, we can get the blood sugar to normal level or delay the onset of diabetes,” he said.
The Medical Journal of Malaysia reported that the condition of 80% of diabetic patients seeking treatment at private clinics in 2005 was not well controlled, while the figure was 67% in government clinics for 2006, he said.
Ideally, it is possible for people to achieve the 6.5% or below blood glucose level and not suffer any risks from diabetes throughout their lives, he said.
“The poor control could be due to patients not complying with treatment, proper diet and exercise, or doctors not prescribing more aggressive treatment,” he said.
Professor of medicine and senior consultant endocrinologist Dr Chan Siew-Pheng said patients who become diabetic at ages between 40 and 49 lose 10 years of their lives, and between 50 and 59, six years, and less for those who become diabetic older.
“The good news is that even if you start at a blood sugar level of 11% but it drops to 9%, you reduce the risks of complications,” she said.
With newer medication such as the rosiglitazone maleate, the declining function of insulin-producing beta cells has been delayed by up to 60 months before more drugs are needed to control blood sugar level, she said.

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