Have Diabetes? Here’s an Improved Way to Track Your Blood Sugars

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

Continuous glucose monitoring (often abbreviated as CGM) is basically a system that allows one’s blood glucose levels to be monitored automatically.

HELPS TO IMPROVE YOUR DIABETES MANAGEMENT

This system opens up a world of opportunities for better blood glucose management for people with type 1 diabetes as well as those on type 2 diabetes that require insulin.

After all, with information of their blood glucose levels that can be obtained immediately, they can make quick informed decisions about their food choices and the dosage of their insulin as well as when to administer it.

LETS YOU ANTICIPATE A POTENTIAL INCOMING MEDICAL EMERGENCY

The ability to observe the pattern of the rise and fall of their blood glucose also allows them to be alert of the possibility of a hypo- or hyperglycaemic episode, and take prompt measures accordingly.

NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES

Additionally, continuous glucose monitoring can also benefit people with kidney problems as well as pregnant women worried about gestational diabetes.

RECOMMENDED BY EXPERTS 

It’s really not surprising, therefore, that the 23rd Hong Kong Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk Factors—East Meets West Symposium reported a growing consensus on the definitions and targets of continuous glucose monitoring metrics to allow healthcare professionals and people with diabetes to make full use of this system in diabetes management.

Indeed, the United Kingdom has already taken steps to do this.

All in all, this is a remarkable example of how technology is making diabetes management, which can be complex and confusing to some people, considerably easier to figure out and implement correctly!


Continuous glucose monitoring is a feature in certain types of blood glucose monitor or glucometer. You can talk to your doctor or your pharmacist for more information on continuous glucose monitoring and whether you can benefit from using a glucometer that comes with this feature.


Reference: Oliver, N., Chow, E., Luk, A. O. Y., & Murphy, H. (2023). Applications of continuous glucose monitoring across settings and populations: report from the 23rd Hong Kong Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk Factors – East Meets West Symposium. Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association, e15038. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.15038

Be Careful of This Viral Health “Advice”! Yes, Elon Musk Can Be Wrong Too!

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A recent weight loss trend among TikTok users is the use of the diabetes medication Ozempic, which gathered over a million views—and counting!—using the hashtag #ozempic and #ozempicjourney. Even Elon Musk credited it as one of the reasons he shed 13 kg.

Ozempic is actually one of the many brand names for semaglutide, an anti-diabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and, in the United States, as anti-obesity medication for long-term weight management.

However, it is not the ultimate answer for obesity as it is a prescription medicine indicated for type 2 diabetes, which requires a patient to go get a complete medication review.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MISUSE THIS MEDICATION?
  • Overdose of Ozempic or other similar prescription can cause low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia, which can lead to more health complications
  • Common side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation
  • Other possible side effects include pancreatitis, changes in vision, low blood sugar, kidney failure and gallbladder issues.
  • Furthermore, it is not suitable for people with medullary thyroid cancer or certain endocrine disorders
THE GO-TO OPTION TO REDUCE BODY WEIGHT SHOULD ALWAYS BE LIFESTYLE & DIET MODIFICATION

Diet is the key component in weight management. Many people are aware of this, but only a few succeeded in making changes to their diet in order to achieve a healthy body weight.

This is because most people initiate the lifestyle and diet changes without proper planning and consultation from experts such as nutritionists and dietitians.

With proper consultation from nutritionist and dietitian, weight loss progression can be measured with a much higher success rate.

Dietitian can personalize weight management plan effectively and safely while taking into account the underlying contributing factor needs to be addressed for each individual.

THE RISK OF BUYING OZEMPIC FROM UNLICENSED OR ILLEGAL SOURCES WITHOUT A PROPER PRESCRIPTION

In cases where one requires Ozempic, it should only be used under a doctor’s prescription and purchased from a licensed pharmacy.

Members of the public should keep in mind to not purchase this drug online via illegal sources as this puts their health at risk health.

They will also subject genuine people with diabetes that need this medication to unnecessary distress, should the medication run out of stock due to the self-prescribing habit of the netizens.

Another issue of note is that this medication has to be handled with care under tight temperature control as it is a cold chain medicine. Once the cold chain is broken, the efficacy may be affected and may also cause unwanted side effects.

Diabetes Experts Reflect on Present & Future Diabetes Awareness Efforts

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DIABETES EDUCATION TO PROTECT TOMORROW

The theme of World Diabetes Day in 2022 is Education to Protect Tomorrow, which calls for the need for better access to quality diabetes education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes.

During the recent World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2022 celebration in Putrajaya, which was jointly organized by the Endocrine Institute of Putrajaya Hospital, the Malaysian Endocrine & Metabolic Society (MEMS), and Novo Nordisk Pharma Malaysia, the experts present reflected on the need to raise public awareness among Malaysians on diabetes.

After all, the latest National Health and Morbidity Survey reported 1 in 5 adult Malaysians has type 2 diabetes!

EFFORTS NEED TO BE DOUBLED TO STOP RISING PREVALENCE 

Dato’ Dr Asmayani Khalib, the Deputy Director-General (Medical), Ministry of Health Malaysia, said: “The rising number of people affected by diabetes is putting added strain on healthcare systems. Healthcare professionals require quality diabetes education on how to detect and diagnose the condition early and provide the best possible care; while people living with diabetes need access to ongoing education to understand their condition and carry out the daily self-care essential to staying healthy and avoiding complications.”

Datuk Dr. Zanariah bt Hussein, the Head of the Endocrinology Subspecialty Service of the Malaysian Ministry of Health, felt that, as more Malaysians are diagnosed with diabetes, current efforts need to be doubled to stop this rising number from escalating further.

Access to quality diabetes education is a goal we must all strive in, to educate and empower not only patients and the community but also family members who are providing support and care,” she said.

DIABETES EDUCATION KEY TO SUSTAINABLE LONG-TERM DIABETES CARE

“The focus on access to diabetes education is a critical aspect that will enable sustainable long-term care, with both healthcare providers and people living with diabetes receiving quality diabetes education,”  said Richard Abela, the Vice President and General Manager of Novo Nordisk Pharma Malaysia. “This is an essential component of diabetes care as we develop a patient-centric approach in care, that is sustainable for lifelong chronic disease management.”

MMA Collaboration Offers Free Health Screening to People Over 40

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FROM DECEMBER 2022 TO FEBRUARY 2023, MALAYSIANS AGED 40 & ABOVE CAN GET FREE HEALTH SCREENING

This is thanks to SCREEN.DETECT.ACT, a campaign jointly organized by Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and Viatris Malaysia.

This campaign aims to have more Malaysians aged 40 and above screened for risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

LACK OF HEALTH SCREENING LEAVES MANY UNAWARE THAT THEY HAVE NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

The campaign is an effort of the MMA to support of the National Health Screening Initiative (NHSI) 2022, launched in July this year by the Ministry of Health, to address the low rate of health screening among the public.

Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai, the President of the MMA, tells us: “It is concerning that a high number of Malaysians with high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol were unaware of their health status, as they did not see a doctor for a medical check-up to get a diagnosis.”

He adds that the SCREEN.DETECT.ACT campaign is timely because the rate of health screenings has dropped over the last 2 years due to the lockdowns.

PILOT PROGRAMME ROLL-OUT

The SCREEN. DETECT. ACT campaign will roll out in Klang Valley and Negeri Sembilan, targeting 1,000 people above 40 years of age and those at higher health risks.


“We urge those above 40 years of age, those at higher risk, and especially, those who have yet to undergo any medical check-ups or health screening, to seize this opportunity to get yourself screened. Early detection and timely treatment can potentially lower your risks of complications and result in better outcomes. Health screening can save lives,” says Dr Muruga.

Free health screening under the SCREEN.DETECT.ACT is available at participating general practitioner clinics. For more information, contact Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) at 03-4041 1375 (office) or 018-277 8794 (WhatsApp only) from Monday to Friday (9 am to 6 pm).

Healthy Meals Are Still Tasty for People with Diabetes, Thanks to This Book

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CHUA KAI JIA
Dietitian
Alpro Pharmacy

Most of us have heard it by now: the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey from our Ministry of Health revealed that more than half of Malaysians are overweight or obese. Given that type 2 diabetes is closely linked to overweight and obesity, it’s therefore not surprising that the prevalence of this chronic disease in this country is high—the highest in Asia, in fact!

Furthermore, there is a misconception that, for people with diabetes, eating healthily means giving up all the foods and beverages they used to enjoy. This is not true, that the key to a healthy, balanced diet for people with diabetes lies with keeping count of one’s carb and calorie intake, so that these are within the recommended amount for the person.

Recognizing the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and the need to empower Malaysians with this condition to prepare healthy, diabetes-friendly meals that they will enjoy, Alpro Pharmacy together with sugO35, a personalized diabetes care service provider, has prepared a series of recipe books for people with diabetes.

Last November, Teroka FUN Resipi Diabetik was released in conjunction with World Diabetes Day.

This is the second volume in the series, following the first volume, U-Turn Diabetic the Fun Way.

“One of the most frequently asked questions from our diabetic patients is ‘What can I eat?’,” dietitian Chua Kai Jia shares with us.

5 GREAT THINGS ABOUT TEROKA FUN RESIPI DIABETIK
  1. It contains 25 diabetes-friendly recipes utilizing common ingredients used in Malaysian dishes. Each ingredient gets a chapter of its own, with fun facts and nutritional information about these ingredients.
  2. These recipes are prepared by nutritionists and dietitians.
  3. These dishes will appeal to Malaysians of all races, and they are also affordable to prepare and tasty to eat—proof that someone with diabetes can still enjoy delicious meals as long as they pay attention to what and how much they eat.
  4. Chua shares that this book will be useful to people with diabetes and their loved ones when it comes to adhering to a healthy, well-balanced (and tasty!) diet while keeping their blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
  5. The content is in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese, making it accessible to a large majority of Malaysians.
HOW TO GET YOUR COPY
Digital
You can sign-up to get your free copies of the 2 recipe books using the links below. All links open in a new tab.
Print
The first volume is out of print. Volume 2, Teroka FUN Resipi Diabetik, is still available, however, for RM59.90. You can obtain a copy here (link opens in a new tab).
HealthToday is not associated with Alpro Pharmacy and sugO35. This article is presented for information purpose only, as we believe that these books can be of use to readers. We do not get any income from downloads or purchases through the links on this page.