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Don’t Sugar-Coat Diabetes webinar (Nov 21) to tackle common misconceptions

Diabetes and the damage it does

Don’t Sugar-Coat Diabetes webinar (Nov 21) to tackle common misconceptions

WHEN it comes to diabetes, most Malaysians are aware of the common health complications and risks that come with the disease.

But even then, there is a running line of misconceptions, myths if you will, with some more egregious than others.

In everyday conversation, sugar seems to always be named and shamed as the main culprit of diabetes alongside a sedentary lifestyle and family genetics.

While many are aware of diabetes and its causes, not as many actually know firsthand of the long-term effects it has on the human body.

Controlling blood sugar levels is not the only thing that matters of course. There are other possible long-term effects on one’s organs that can arise simply by having diabetes – something that is missing from the general understanding of diabetes.

In reality, diabetes also puts individuals at a higher risk of developing other complications such as heart diseases and chronic kidney disorders.

Based on the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, there are approximately 3.9 million Malaysians living with diabetes. That is equivalent to one in five adults in the country living with the disease, hence we are labelled “the sweetest nation in Asia”’.

More recently, this year’s Malaysian Diabetes Index (MDI) found that out of 2,539 people surveyed, 52% of the respondents revealed that they do not know diabetes cannot be cured, while another 51% think that diabetes is not difficult to manage.

Even more disconcerting is that one in three respondents (37%) with diabetes do not know what the abnormal blood sugar level readings even are.

The MDI is a survey that was made to measure the level of awareness and understanding of diabetes in the country with the Beyond Sugar campaign which is a community initiative supported by AstraZeneca in partnership with the Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS).

Through the initiative of the Beyond Sugar campaign, comes Don’t Sugar-Coat Diabetes – a webinar that aims to discuss some of the most common misconceptions of diabetes and its more life-threatening complications.

This webinar is aimed at increasing awareness of the disease, and to set some misconceptions straight to avoid the public misinterpreting diabetes which may cause mismanagement of the condition.

To tackle the gaps in understanding the disease, the webinar will discuss the misconceptions people have about diabetes (based on the aforementioned MDI), the common beliefs of diabetes, as well as the dangers of these misconceptions which can lead to serious diabetes complications.

Discussions will also help enlighten the public on other lesser-known complications and risk factors associated with diabetes.

Panelists at the webinar are Dr Foo Siew Hui, a consultant endocrinologist who is also the honorary treasurer and MEMS project lead of the Beyond Sugar campaign for the Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS), and Dr Rafidah Abdullah, a consultant in Internal Medicine and Nephrology, Department of Medicine of Hospital Putrajaya. She also serves as vice president of MedTweetMy.

Joining them as a guest is popular webcomic artist Ernest Ng, who looks to share his experiences working on the Beyond Sugar campaign and the webcomic he is developing about diabetes.

The webinar will take place on Nov 21 (10am-11am) and is open to anyone who wants to learn more about how they can create better lifestyles for themselves and their family to better manage diabetes.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is offering free uACR tests (urine sample test) at 300 participating clinics.

On the flipside, those living with diabetes can take the MRF (multiple risk factor) questionnaire by interacting with the chatbot on the Beyond Sugar website at www.beyondsugar.my to find out if they are at risk of developing kidney or heart diseases.

Knowledge is power so the best thing you can do is to keep yourself informed. Sign up for the webinar Nov 21 (10am-11am) now via bit.ly/BeyondSugarNov2021.

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