A disorder of high blood sugar levels, diabetes is spreading its wings to include about 70 million people in India, both in the urban and rural areas. The serious condition exposes patients to several other complications and could be life-threatening. What’s worrisome is that it often goes undiagnosed and many are unaware of its long-term implications. From cardio-vascular diseases to its perilous effect on eyes and kidneys as well as the dangerous gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that approximately five million people die each year as a consequence of the disease.
Diabetes is the general term used for a condition that leads to an increase in glucose levels in the blood. It occurs when the pancreas is either unable to make sufficient amounts of insulin, or the insulin produced does not act properly (a condition known as insulin resistance). But, with a proper diet and lifestyle change, you can control the disease.
On World Diabetes Day observed on November 14 each year — to raise awareness and provide affordable care to all — here are some important and key factors that you need to take care of so as to stop it from being fatal.
Dr S K Wangnoo, Senior Consultant (Endocrinology), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi shares a few tips.
Family history of diabetes: You inherit a predisposition to the condition and then something in your environment triggers it, especially if there is a history of obesity. Type 2 diabetes has a stronger connection to family history and lineage than type 1, however, with proper diagnosis on time it can be kept under control.
Lifestyle modification: Sedentary habits, eating more junk and fatty food, aerated drinks, and erratic meal habits – all contribute towards the risk of having diabetes. Every extra hour of sitting increases risk of having diabetes by a fifth, warns the doctor. So, by an intensive lifestyle modification, adopting of healthy diets and increased physical activity, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
Obesity: Gaining weight may make you susceptible to diabetes. As doctor suggests, try to maintain ideal body weight, that is to keep the BMI less than 22.9 Kg/m2 and waist circumference to less than 90 cm in male and 80 cm in females. Get rid of excess weight through a regimented diet and exercise plan. There are no shortcuts to lose weight. Weight loss and a good diet can even reverse pre-diabetes.
Food habits and balanced diet: Eating at right time, an appropriate amount of a balance carbohydrates, fats and proteins with fruits is essential. Not going on an empty stomach for long hours and not missing the meals are important. Studies have shown that missing breakfast increases the risk of developing diabetes. Replace heavy meals after prolong gap with small healthy snacks to munch on. Try to replace your normal rice with brown rice and refined flour with whole grains. (Read | Eating dark chocolates may prevent diabetes: Study)
Exercise regularly: From a brisk walk to yoga, exercise daily for at least for 30 to 45 minutes. Sedentary habits are contributing in a big way to increasing incidences of diabetes. Also, taking a break from exercise could up the risks. So make sure to take small breaks in between your work. Here are some exercises you can do at your office desk.
Adequate sleep: Not just food and exercise but proper rest is also very important. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every day is a must as our body rejuvenates itself during sleep by eliminating the toxins which accumulate during the time we are awake. Late nights and late mornings also up the risk of having diabetes and hypertension.
Manage stress: Stress has invaded every part of human life in today’s world. From kids to elderly, stress has become all-encompassing. With too much work and not active break or recreational activities that make us happy and content, we risk our selves to many diseases and diabetes is one of them. While this needs to be addressed at a higher level, it is essential that a person find ways to mitigate this stress.
Regular checkups: Regular blood sugar monitoring, essential intake of medicines and a review check-up with your doctors at regular intervals is must.