Singapore, 12 April 2016 – By 2030, the number of Singapore residents above 40 with diabetes is projected to significantly increase by 50 per cent from about 400,000 today, to 600,000. To prevent further increase and enable early detection of diabetes, SingHealth has partnered GPs across the island to offer free health screening for parents, siblings and children of individuals with diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes).

The STOP Diabetes screening programme is part of the SingHealth Regional Health System’s ongoing efforts to partner community organisations to conduct health screenings and programmes to help the public embark on preventive health and a healthier lifestyle.

The programme aims to screen 500 such relatives by March 2017. Screening is open to those aged 30 and above who have no known diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

“Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes has strong genetic and family-related risk factors with immediate family members being two to six times more likely to have the disease.  Early detection and intervention of pre-diabetes are crucial in keeping the condition under control. By partnering GPs to detect diabetes earlier, timely and active management can be administered to help those at risk to delay or even prevent complications,” said Dr Emily Ho, Director of SingHealth Regional Health System and Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital.

Eligible individuals who sign up will be screened by participating GPs for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.  

Those found to be at-risk or suffering from diabetes will be referred for further tests and/or medical follow-up care by these GPs. Relevant intervention programmes such as diet and lifestyle education, foot care and diabetes self-care will also be recommended for these patients.

Dr Eugene Chan from My Family Clinic at Punggol is one of the first GPs to partner SingHealth to offer the targeted screening. “Most residents in Punggol are young working adults who lead stressful lifestyles, putting them at risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes. We hope to encourage those at risk to undergo screening and take active steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so that they can prevent complications associated with Type 2 diabetes such as kidney failure, stroke and lower limb amputations later in life,” said Dr Chan.