SingHealth Polyclinics motivates pre-diabetic individuals to make lifestyle changes.

When Mr Soong Chin Suan, 63, went for his annual checkup at Marine Parade Polyclinic in September this year, he was dismayed to hear that his blood sugar was “borderline high”.

The doctor told him he had prediabetes, a condition where the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be full-blown diabetes.

Instead of just sending him home with medication, the doctor sent him to see a care manager at the polyclinic. Mr Soong is among more than 200 patients enrolled in the Pre-Diabetes Management Programme run by SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP). With one in seven adults in Singapore having pre-diabetes, the programme aims to empower pre-diabetic individuals to make lifestyle and dietary changes, to prevent the onset of diabetes.

Patients on the programme work with a health counsellor or care manager to achieve this goal.

“We ask them about their lifestyle habits and involve them in developing individually tailored action plans to improve these habits. We set targets for weight loss, educate them on diets and discuss ways to quit the habit, if they are smokers."

Assistant Nurse Clinician Patsy Lim, Care Manager at Marine Parade Polyclinic.

Patients are also advised to record their daily food intake and blood glucose levels, which they measure twice a week.

After six months, patients return to the polyclinic to review their records with the care manager and find out if the action plan is working.   If not, tweaks are made and a second follow-up takes place six months later to check the progress.

Mr Soong realised that he had been consuming too much sugar after his first meeting with the care manager. He took immediate steps to stop adding sugar to his coffee and snacking on peanuts and pistachios after dinner.   He has become more active and plays golf three times a week. At the same time, he has been diligently monitoring his blood glucose levels with a glucometer.

He said: “If the readings don’t improve, I plan to exercise more to lose weight. I have read about the complications of diabetes and I really don’t want to go through that.”