Diabetes Threat Bigger Than H1N1


Sunday STAR, November 15, 2009

PETALING JAYA: The country is heading towards becoming a “sick nation” as far as diabetes is concerned, a health expert has cautioned.

“The (diabetes) situation is getting worse. It could get worse than H1N1 or AIDS if the people don’t do something about their health,” Malaysian Diabetes Association president Prof Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said.

He said a National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2006 showed a prevalence rate of 14.9% for those aged above 30, with a third of Malay­sians with diabetes not being aware of it.


Does this piece of news sound familiar to you Malaysians ?

No, I don’t have a quick fix for your Diabetes. But I do want to offer you the BEST PRESCRIPTION for diabetes. And that is EDUCATION. Education on how it happens (the causes) and how to reverse this condition (restoration).

The top 2 CAUSES I want to address here are CHRONIC STRESS and FOOD CHOICES.


To start with, we talk about PHYSICAL STRESS. If you leave home at 7am and return home at 8pm the same day, then you are away for work 13 hours, including travelling and traffic jams. Add 7 hours of good sleep, and you only have 4 hours left to unwind and attend to other areas of life. Now an average person will do that 5 to 6 days a week throughout the years. They all add up together to a “tsunami” of drowning chronic stress than many are not aware of, that is, if they did not take time to DE-STRESS on a daily basis. Some “working wives” may have to attend to household chores after work, while some husbands spend their 13-15 hours on a very tight and demanding work pace or schedule.

We were never created nor wired to take on long hours of physical works (and bodily abuse?), without its side effects or consequences. On the contrary, God has made us to work following the sun: to rise with it and to set with it. Pretty much like what the “kampung” folks are doing every day.

I have seen successful wellness practitioners fall into this "non-stop working" trap, where they eventually got into health problems such as stroke and cancer. But I am also comforted by the fact that they learnt their lessons quickly and did the necessary adjustment to their lifestyle pace, and regained their robust health again.

EMOTION STRESS. Emo-stress comes from various sources, 1. job demands, 2. people we interact with, 3. change of circumstances, 4. and of course our own SELF.

1. A good way to handle Job Demands is to get oneself equipped and trained. We can ask ourselves, “how come others are more efficient than us, on a similar job scope?” Strive to be a “conscious competent” worker. Also, it’s important to know and mind your limits – the span of attention and span of control over your job. Take home this Chinese saying, “work is longer than life itself”. Hence, apply your own cut off point.

Do try to differentiate between the Company and the “bosses”. The former has been your faithful employee, while the latter are merely “trustees” that may come and go. Hence, if you are trapped in office politics and poor corporate leadership and systems, I hope this comparison may help you reduce your emotional upsets and recover sanity from time to time.

2. People that we face daily include office colleagues, spouses, children, friends, siblings parents, and so on. One manager remarks, “I love mankind; it’s only people that I can’t stand”. If that’s your deficiency, then I urge you to search out books and teachers who can help you gain some practical techniques on how to handle people such as Communication, Negotiation skills, Personality types, and Human Motivators.

Take this simple test. Go to a big mirror and take a deep look into it. You will soon discover a very complex and difficult kind of creature. Yes, that’s yourself and by and large – human kind. I hope you are amused by this fact. Human relations skills are absolutely indispensable if you are in a leadership position.

3. Change of circumstances. Suddenly your doctor tells you that you are suffering from a critical disease. And the whole world crumbles under your feet. How about losing your job? Or a divorce ? or a teenage girl coming home to confess that she is pregnant? Or a serious motor accident ? Wow, sorry to frighten you, but these are the realities of life.

But I give you Hope. Until God says “DIE”, not a hair will drop from your head. It’s not like the move 2012 where God has no part to play in human events. But as far as you and I are concerned, we need the creator God as much as we need oxygen every moment of our lives. Let us learn to thrust our lives under the mighty hand of God. Without Him, I will have no effective way of handling stress throughout my fleeting life on earth. After all, He created each of us and every living creature. Surely, He alone can be your guide throughout every change of circumstance.

4. Your own SELF. This is the #1 Emo-stressor. When I was dying in 1999 after having seen 36 doctors of all disciplines, all those things that were once important to my daily strive suddenly lost their charms. They became absolutely dispensable and unimportant. On the other hand, only a few things were utterly important: my Family members, friends and God. Now that I have been given a 2nd chance to live, I work out my priorities based on lasting values that will outlive my mortal life. These priorities include leaving behind a legacy; family relationships; restoring another fellow human being; and having an eternal perspective in many things that I undertake.

I am always mindful that life is very, very brief. It’s just like vapor that condenses and dissipates as soon as the sun begins to shine. Hence, man at his prime is just like a flower in the field. Soon the winds blow over it and it’s gone. And the ground that once bore it, will remember it no more.

On Alexander the Great’s tombstone, it was written, “A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.” Jim Elliot is dearly remembered for what he advised, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Live only one day at a time. Observe the yellow “robed” monk at the street or market place. He holds out a humble bowl to collect alms and sustenance that will last him a day. He is contented and he travels light. He has very little worries. Do you think we can learn something practical from him regarding effective stress management?

Finally, lower your expectations on your children’s exam marks, spouse, subordinates, colleagues, and also yourself. Don’t overload yourself with high and perfectionistic ideals. You will soon break under its constant unbearable weight – mind , emotion, and body.


When you are under acute or chronic stress of all kinds, your body’s physiological responses go like this:

  • Your pupils dilate
  • Muscle and liver release glucose for energy
  • Insulin spikes to usher the glucose from the blood stream into the cells
  • Stomach tightens up
  • Heart beat elevates, bringing the need nutrients and hormones to the sites
  • Breathing increases rapidly and deep to circulate oxygen
  • Hands and feet feel cold
  • The mouth becomes dry; face turns pale
  • Mentally alert, then turn foggy in due course
  • Increased power to “defend” oneself
  • You are now turned on to a “survival mode”
  • It’s also called  the “fight or flee” mode


All the above physiological responses are brought about by stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenalin, and insulin actions. Such responses are supposed to be transient (come and go). But trouble starts to brew when these responses are sustained on a prolonged basis due to chronic stress. As a result your key “response” systems are upset as follows:

Nervous system – irritability, insomnia, depression, moodiness, anxiety
Endocrine system – thyroid problem, blood pressure problem, sexual dysfunctions,
Circulatory system – arterial hardening, arterial clogging/plaques, fatigue
Digestive system – cholesterol disorder, diabetes, obesity

They result in disorders of the MIND – BODY – EMOTION. And more than 70% of the reason to visit doctors is due to STRESS.


Under so much stress, you seek comfort from food, especially the “naughty” foods that will make you feel good for a while at least. These foods are normally high in sugar, dangerous fats, fiberless,  much refined and laced with chemicals, artificial colors and preservatives. And these element will be adding oil to fire, so to speak. Others go for cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, etc for help.

So learn to take the right food for support when under stress. You can find a couple of articles on such topic on my ARTICLE PAGE. Look for these titles: Food For Thought & Acid-Alkaline Balance In Our Body.

I hope by now, you will understand and appreciate that Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. All you need to do is to RE-ORDER your life. To reverse the habits that have been nurturing diabetes over all these years.

To summarize in a few short words: Eat right – Think right – Live right. Even a small child can be taught this simple truth, and often children learn faster than an adult could.

Once these fundamentals of STRESS and FOOD are sufficiently addressed, you add on the DE-STRESSING initiatives as regularly as possible. They include the BREATHING EXERCISE, and going for moderate sports, games, and exercising.

Supplements for diabetes include:

  • Ginseng
  • Better gourd
  • Chlorella
  • Spirulina
  • Chromium picolate
  • Garlic and onions
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Alpha Lipoic acid







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