Tuesday 14 August 2012

Local study shows diabetes patients not managing disease well

By Alice Chia, Channel NewsAsia, 11 Aug 2012

A local study has shown that almost eight in 10 patients suffering from diabetes here are not managing their disease well.

Experts warn that if unmanaged, diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations and heart disease.

Seventy-three-year-old Mr Wong Wai Khew has been a diabetes patient for 13 years.

Mr Wong had to get used to taking nine pills daily.

"When we travel, we have to bring a lot of medicine. If we travel for a week, we have to pack enough medicine for two weeks. If there are any delays at the airport, we will run out of medicine," he said.

Not many are as conscientious as Mr Wong.

A survey by the Diabetic Society of Singapore showed that only about half of the over 150 respondents take their medicine regularly.

One in four patients said they're frustrated at having to pop so many pills.

Seven in 10 are not self-monitoring their blood glucose, while more than six in 10 do not exercise three times a week for 30 minutes each time.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that converts sugar and other nutrients into energy needed for daily life.

Vice president of the Diabetic Society of Singapore, Dr Kevin Tan, thinks that education is key in helping these patients.

"If we can educate them as to the importance of medication... not to just control the blood sugar in diabetes but also blood pressure and cholesterol, why they need to exercise and why they need to control their weight... I think more would be keen to control their condition," he said.

Families and friends too can do their part.

Two in three patients feel they need help with their condition, and many hope their companions can eat healthily with them.

There's also a new drug now that can help patients reduce the pill load.

With Kombiglyze XR, patients who take two pills daily can halve that dosage.

The drug may be prescribed for patients with Type-2 diabetes, often associated with obesity and a family history of the disease.

Doctors said the price of the drug is comparable to similar ones in the market.

The drug is available in private clinics. It will be six to 12 months before the drug is made available at hospitals.

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