To what extent can diabetes be managed without medication?

By the team at Speedoc,
January 31, 2023

The war on diabetes was declared in 2016 by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore. It is a serious yet necessary stance , given that an estimated 1 million adult Singaporeans will suffer from diabetes by 2050. Diabetes is often ignored as it may not cause any problems initially; but eventually, it can result in a variety of severe medical conditions such as kidney damage, heart disease and even glaucoma. While diabetes is a lifelong condition, it can certainly be managed and many patients go on to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What diabetes really is and how it forms

  • How to manage the different diabetes types

  • What you can do to manage diabetes at home

What is diabetes?

What is diabetes? Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic, life-long condition that affects how your body uses sugar for energy. Your body breaks down a majority of the food you eat into sugar or glucose, which is then released into your bloodstream and distributed to all parts of your body.

Once the sugar is released into your bloodstream, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. This allows sugar in your blood to be used by the cells in your body as energy. However, when someone has diabetes, due to either insufficient insulin or your body’s inability to use the insulin properly, the sugar in your blood cannot be broken down and will accumulate.

There are 3 main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: an autoimmune disorder where your body does not produce enough insulin. Usually occurs in children, teenagers, and young adults.

  • Type 2 diabetes: most common type of diabetes and occurs when your body becomes immune to insulin causing sugar to accumulate in your body.

  • Gestational diabetes: occurs during pregnancy when the placenta produces hormones that block insulin.

What is the rate of diabetes in Singapore?

Approximately 400,000 Singaporeans have diabetes and about 1 in 3 Singaporeans have a risk of developing diabetes. These numbers are expected to rise to 1 million by 2050.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes may differ between gender and the type of diabetes, but there are also general symptoms to look out for:

Symptoms in women

Symptoms in men

General symptoms

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Yeast infections
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Poor muscle strength
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Slow healing sores or wounds
  • Frequent infections
  • Numbness or tingling sensation of hands or feet

In addition to the list of general symptoms stated above, symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop quickly and may also include:

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Stomach pains

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, causing many individuals to not even realise they have diabetes. Pay attention to your body and be alert to symptoms.

If you have a combination of any of the symptoms, make an appointment with us and we will guide you on the next steps.

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What the best management of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes management

Regular insulin shots: since your pancreas is unable to make insulin, you will need to take insulin shots to allow the sugar in your blood to be used by your body cells.

Regular blood sugar checks: you must keep your blood sugar levels as close to your target level as possible.

Healthy lifestyle: like all diseases, the key is having a healthy lifestyle. Make healthy food choices, engage in regular exercise, control your blood pressure, and control your cholesterol.

Diabetes test: your doctor will advise you on how frequently you need to perform a diabetes test to check the blood sugar level in your body.

Type 2 diabetes management:

Healthy eating: choose healthy foods that are high in fibre and keep your portion sizes small. Consider getting help from a nutritionist to help you plan well-balanced meals to get all your nutritional needs met.

Physical activity: anaerobic and resistance exercises can help you lose or maintain a healthy weight. These exercises also help you to regulate your blood sugar levels.

Weight loss: obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes. Healthy weight loss can help you keep your blood sugar levels under control, reduce your cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower your blood pressure.

Medication: only prescribed if you are unable to control your blood sugar levels with healthy eating, physical activity, and weight loss.

Diabetes test: your doctor will advise you on how frequently you need to perform a diabetes test to check the blood sugar level in your body.

Can diabetes be managed without medication?

Yes, in some instances diabetes can be managed without medication by implementing some positive lifestyle changes. This is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes. But to stick to a no-medication plan, it is imperative that you adhere closely to the lifestyle changes (e.g. physical activity, weight loss plans) as per your doctor’s advice.

For those with type 1 diabetes, unfortunately, insulin injections are a must due to the body’s inability to naturally produce insulin. Failure to do so can result in dehydration and put the individual at risk of diabetic coma.

At Speedoc, we provide a range of health screening packages. Our Diabetes Management Programme can help you manage your diabetes. The programme includes blood tests, urine analysis to check your kidney function, electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for heart problems, blood pressure measurement, diabetic foot screening, eye screening, and body mass index (BMI) measurement. All of these are done from the comforts and privacy of your own home!

If it all seems too overwhelming, or you need help getting started in managing your diabetes, contact us at +65 6909 7799, email us at, or download our app to book a video consultation with one of our doctors.

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