Diabetes is more than having too much sugar in the blood or urine. It is a metabolic disease that causes a wide range of inflammatory conditions. There are two forms of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body does not produce insulin at all. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin daily to regulate blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes, is a lifestyle-related disease and is closely correlated to obesity and physical inactivity. In Singapore, Type 2 diabetes affects about 8.9% of adult men and 7.6% of adult women – and the rate is increasing as more people become overweight. Unlike those with Type 1 diabetes, insulin production in Type 2 diabetics is normal, but the cells of the body become insensitive or resistant to insulin. This results in a high level of sugar in the blood. Persistent high sugar levels in the blood affect the blood vessels, particularly the delicate vessels in the eyes, nerves, kidneys and heart, causing life-threatening and debilitating conditions. In Singapore, the disease is the eighth biggest cause of death.
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