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Men's Health Line - Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes Mellitus
Introduction and Causes Symptoms and Effects
Prevention Treatment and Self-help

Introduction and Causes
Symptoms and Effects
Prevention
Treatment and Self-help

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder which occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or when the insulin level produced does not work effectively, resulting in an abnormally high glucose level in blood.

What causes it?

It is not fully understood what triggers diabetes mellitus, but the following risk factors increase the chances of someone developing diabetes mellitus:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Certain drugs or diseases that damage the pancreas and affect its ability to produce insulin
  • Increasing age- most people develop diabetes mellitus after age 45
  • Family history- it can run in families
Statistics

Diabetes mellitus remained as one of the top ten causes of death in Hong Kong. In 2018, 477 registered deaths were due to this disease and 57.0% of them were in men.



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What are the common symptoms?

When the level of glucose in the blood becomes too high, the following symptoms will appear:

  • Passing urine frequently, especially at night
  • Abnormal thirst
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Loss of weight
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Many sufferers do not show any symptoms and remain unaware they have diabetes mellitus unless complications develop.
Health Alert

Diabetes mellitus is not infectious. However, you are at risk if your immediate family member has the disease. Regular body check can uncover the hidden disease as early as possible.

 

What are the complications?

Persistent high blood glucose levels will lead to:

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How can I prevent it?

You can lower your risk of having diabetes mellitus by:

  • Eat a healthy and high-fibre diet, and avoid high-sugar food.
  • Take suitable exercise regularly.
  • Control your weight.
  • Get adequate rest and avoid stress.

Prevention

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What is the treatment?

Diabetes mellitus can be treated by medication along with lifestyle changes and a range of therapies from experts such as nurses, dietitians, or podiatrists.

The choice of an appropriate treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms, the extent to which they affect the patient's life, and the presence of any other medical conditions.

If the blood sugar level is only slightly raised, it is usually treated by diet and exercise alone, without resorting to medication.

If diet and exercise fail to control the blood glucose level, the doctor will prescribe some oral tablets to lower the blood sugar level. In more serious cases, insulin injection will be used, alone or in combination with oral drugs.

How can I help myself?

Consult a doctor if you have any suspicions. The doctor would check your history and arrange the necessary examination to make a diagnosis.

If you have a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of complications. All the preventive advice applies.

To control your diabetes and to yield satisfactory results from the drug treatment, you have to take the medication as prescribed. Never stop or skip taking them on your own without consulting your doctor first, even when symptoms disappear or when your blood glucose is under control. It is important to visit your doctor regularly to have your condition monitored. You may take special care of your feet and have regular eye examinations.

If you have any suspicions, you should seek medical advice.

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Health Tips
To reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus, you should have a balanced diet and avoid foods that are too sweet, salty or oily. Exercise regularly can also help to control body weight.
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Hotline
 

Health Education Infoline of
the Department of Health: 2833 0111