In April 2016, the Ministry of Health (MOH) declared War on Diabetes, and for good reason – diabetes is one of the most prevalent health conditions here; 1 in 3 Singaporeans are at risk of developing this condition. Protect yourself by getting screened regularly. 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body is unable to regulate the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. This can happen for two main reasons:

  • Insulin Resistance: The body is not able to effectively use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. This results in high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
  • Insulin Deficiency: The body is not able to produce enough insulin, which also leads to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

Diabetes is often associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Individuals with diabetes are also 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease and stroke.

Before diabetes develops, there is a stage we call prediabetes. Without intervention/changes, prediabetes could develop into type 2 diabetes within 5 years; this happens to 5-10% of people with prediabetes.

What causes Diabetes?

The exact causes of diabetes are not fully understood, but there are several factors that can contribute to the development of the condition:

Pancreatic issues

(e.g. poor diet, physical
inactivity, smoking)


(History of gestational diabetes)

Types of diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is usually caused by a combination of insulin resistance and insulin deficiency.

Fortunately, this type of diabetes can often be managed through lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet, although some people may also require medication or insulin injections.

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.

Women who develop gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

While symptoms of diabetes may vary depending on the type of diabetes and severity of the condition, some general signs to look out for include; 

Frequent urination
Increased thirst
Hunger even after eating
Blurred vision
Slow healing of wounds
Tingling or numbness
Unexplained weight loss

Who is at risk of developing
diabetes in Singapore?

  • Family history
    Having a family history of diabetes puts you at risk of developing the condition – especially Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Age
    The risk of developing diabetes increases with age, especially after the age of 45.
  • Obesity
    One way to tell if your weight is healthy is through your BMI and waist circumference. These two go in tangent; while BMI is not exactly the best indicator of your body fat, your waist circumference is. For example, if you have a high BMI but normal-small waist circumference (as with bodybuilders), you have nothing to worry about. Conversely, if you have a normal BMI but large waist circumference, you might be at risk of coronary heart disease. 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant, hence increasing their risk of Type 2 diabetes. 

How is diabetes diagnosed
in Singapore?

Diabetes is usually diagnosed through a combination of blood tests and other diagnostic tests, including; 

  • Fasting blood sugar test
    To measure levels of blood glucose. 
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test
    To measure average levels of blood glucose over the past 2-3 months. 
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
    To measure the level of glucose in the blood after consuming a sugary drink. Your blood glucose level should rise, and then go back to normal. 

Can diabetes be cured or treated?
Both Type 1 and 2 diabetes have no cure, but they can be controlled with appropriate management.

As mentioned, Type 1 diabetes will require regular insulin shots, as prescribed by a doctor. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with just lifestyle changes, depending on how severe the condition is. These lifestyle changes include; 

  • Adjusting your diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Monitoring your glucose and blood sugar levels consistently

Regardless of treatment, the goal will always be to manage your blood sugar levels well to prevent complications. Diabetes treatment is lifelong, so it’s important to work with a trusted healthcare professional who can develop a suitable and sustainable treatment plan for you. 

BMI (kg/m2)
(For adults)

Risk of Heart Diseases and Diabetes

27.54 and above

High Risk

23.0 - 27.4

Moderate Risk

18.5 - 22.9

Low Risk (healthy range)

Less than 18.5

Risk of nutritional deficiency diseases and osteoporosis

Source: Health Promotion Board

Asia-Pacific Consensus

Waist Circumference



≥ 90

≥ 80

Source: MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines 5/2004 (Obesity)

At LMC, we take a holistic approach and treat not just your diabetes with medications but overall wellbeing – this includes looking at your diet, physical activity, sleep, heart health and more through the guidance of a health coach. 

Through our coaching programs, you get access to: 

Evidence-based health coaching

Individualised management plan

Coordination and scheduling of specialist referrals

Personalised program tailored to your unique goals and preferences 

Your health matters to us. Contact us to find out more. 



Health is for everyone

Contact us for smart, evidence-based health coaching solutions that work.