“I Should Have Led a Healthy Lifestyle from Young”

Mr Adzhar Sharif, 42, did not take care of his health and ended up having diabetes and kidney failure. Here, he tells his story and encourages people not to take their health for granted.
“When I was 11 years old, there were signs that I may have diabetes after a health check up. As I was still a boy, I did not really understand what diabetes was all about and its consequences if I get it. I just continued to lead a normal life.
My parents told me not to eat a lot because I was overweight. But I did not bother and also ate food that had a lot of sugar.

Unhealthy Lifestyle
When I was 16 years old, I started working part-time after my “O” levels before starting my National Service. I did not change my eating habits and continued to eat unhealthy food. No one advised me what I should eat and should not eat. At that time, I was obese, weighing more than 80kg.

It was only in my late 20s that I started feeling pain in my legs, tired and weak. At night, I seldom felt like passing urine and was thirsty all the time. I felt something was wrong with my body but I did not bother to see a doctor. At that time, I was working in a café. Looking at all the cakes, pastries and sugary drinks, I could not resist myself and indulged in those kinds of food and beverages often. I also smoked, did not exercise or take up any sport.
Diagnosed with Diabetes and Kidney Failure
During one of my reservist training, I felt pain in my legs. The medical officer checked me and said that my sugar level was very high and admitted me to hospital where I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was only then that it hit me that my condition was serious. The doctor told me that my lifestyle habits caused me to contract diabetes and advised me to change my ways but it was extremely difficult for me to do so.
As I was on oral medication, I thought that it was still alright to eat and drink whatever I wanted. My condition did not improve and I had to start on insulin injections. However, my condition worsened and in 2011, I had no choice but to start dialysis.
Started Peritoneal Dialysis
I joined NKF’s dialysis programme as they provide high subsidies, otherwise I simply cannot afford the treatment. I chose peritoneal dialysis (PD) instead of going to a dialysis centre as I can do it conveniently at home during the night while I sleep. This does not disrupt my work life. The process takes about 10 hours. I do not have to use any needles and it is painless.

Helping Other PD Patients
I now work at NKF as a PD care assistant thanks to a programme they have to help patients find jobs. I help fellow patients who need help to cope with PD, especially those with no caregivers and give them confidence to carry out the treatment themselves. NKF also has a PD Community Support Programme to provide comprehensive support to help PD patients start and stay well on dialysis.

I would like to advise everyone to lead a healthy lifestyle no matter what age you are. Getting diabetes is no joke. It can lead to kidney failure. I regret it but it is too late for me. Do not end up like me. Take care of your health now.”
NKF For assistance on our PD programme, please contact
6299 0200 pd.support@nkfs.org