SINGAPORE: A new local study on patients with type-2 diabetes across nine Asian territories showed that Singapore has the highest proportion of younger patients compared with the whole cohort.
The two-year study (2012-2014) among 319 patients was conducted by the Asian Diabetes Foundation and included patients from Singapore, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Among the Singapore patients, the study found that three in ten had diabetes before turning 40. And younger patients also fared poorly in terms of glucose control, hypertension and cholesterol management compared with older patients.
Hence, doctors said it was timely that a new drug called Janumet XR was approved by the Health Sciences Authority last year to help patients with type-2 diabetes maintain their blood sugar level.
Currently, these patients require multiple drugs to control their blood sugar level. But doctors said this new drug which combines two powerful diabetic agents will help to lower patients' glucose levels in one dose.
In Singapore, there are 498,190 patients with type-2 diabetes and achieving glycaemic control continues to be a challenge for people with diabetes.
Dr Ben Ng, consultant physician at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Medical Centre, said: "Diabetes has no symptoms. So when you are young, you don't really think it's a problem because there is no symptoms, you don't experience pain and you are not aware of its complications.
"Because of that, people don't care. They think they are doing well. On top of that, many other lifestyles such as too good a diet, lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to increasing weight and increasing risk of diabetes."