Diabetes is a growing problem in Singapore today. Figures from the National Health Survey 2010 reveal that 11.3%, or 1 in 9 Singapore residents (Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents) aged 18 – 69 years were affected by diabetes. Of these, 1 in 3 diabetics were unaware that they had diabetes.

In 2014, around 440,000 Singapore residents aged 18 years and above had diabetes. If we do not do anything, the number of diabetics in Singapore could rise to 670,000 by 2030 and nearly 1 million by 2050, based on an estimate by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

Based on figures from the National Registry of Diseases, in 2014, about 1 in 2 heart attack cases had diabetes; 2 in 3 new kidney failure cases were due to diabetes; and 2 in 5 stroke cases had diabetes. There are over 1,500 amputations per year due to complications arising from diabetes, roughly 4 per day.  Source: – https://www.moh.gov.sg/


Diabetes can deeply affect one’s quality of life if it is not well-controlled and potentially debilitating complications develop. It is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Singapore. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputations. These complications, which are often life-long, affect an individual’s health and quality of life. Furthermore, these can in turn affect their family members who need to take care of them and worry about their health.

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes causes vary depending on your genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, health and environmental factors.

There is no common diabetes because that fits every type of diabetes. The reason there is no defined diabetes cause is because the causes of diabetes vary depending on the individual and the type.

For instance; the causes of type 1 diabetes vary considerably from the causes of gestational diabetes. Similarly, the causes of type 2 diabetes are distinct from the causes of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes causes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This causes diabetes by leaving the body without enough insulin to function normally. This is called an autoimmune reaction, or autoimmune cause, because the body is attacking itself.

There are no specific diabetes causes, but the following triggers may be involved:

  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Chemical toxins within food
  • Unidentified component causing autoimmune reaction

Type 2 diabetes causes

Type 2 diabetes causes are usually multifactorial – more than one diabetes cause is involved. Often, the most overwhelming factor is a family history of type 2 diabetes. This is the most likely type 2 diabetes cause.

There are a variety of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, any or all of which increase the chances of developing the condition.

These include:

  • Obesity
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Increasing age
  • Bad diet

Other type 2 diabetes causes such as pregnancy or illness can be type 2 diabetes risk factors.

Gestational diabetes causes

The causes of diabetes in pregnancy also known as gestational diabetes remain unknown. However, there are several risk factors that increase the chances of developing this condition:

  • Family history of gestational diabetes
  • Overweight or obese
  • Suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have had a large baby weighing over 9lb

Causes of gestational diabetes may also be related to ethnicity – some ethnic groups have a higher risk of gestational diabetes.

Other diabetes causes

There are a variety of other potential diabetes causes. These include the following:

  • Pancreatitis or pancreatectomy as a cause of diabetes. Pancreatitis is known to increase the risk of developing diabetes, as is a pancreatectomy.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). One of the root causes of PCOS is obesity-linked insulin resistance, which may also increase the risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cushing’s syndrome. This syndrome increases production of the cortisol hormone, which serves to increased blood glucose levels. An over-abundance of cortisol can cause diabetes.
  • Patients with glucagonoma may experience diabetes because of a lack of equilibrium between levels of insulin production and glucagon production.
  • Steroid induced diabetes (steroid diabetes) is a rare form of diabetes that occurs due to prolonged use of glucocorticoid therapy.

10 tips to help prevent diabetes type 2

  1. Check your risk of diabetes
  2. Manage your weight
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Eat a balanced, healthy diet
  5. Limit takeaway and processed foods
  6. Replenish your body with proper supplements
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Control your blood pressure
  9. Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  10. See your doctor for regular check-ups


The article above is really an alarming sign that Singapore may one day be the number one nation with most diabetics’ sufferers.

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