Diabetes is known as a metabolic, endocrine, and non-communicable disease that is a ‘silent killer’. Increased levels of sugar in the body may lead to diabetes, and not managing it at the right time will invite serious complications like sexual dysfunction. This World Diabetes Day, experts tell us more about the condition and why it needs our immediate attention.
Type 2 diabetes can be described as a condition wherein one’s cells are unable to use blood sugar in an efficient manner to meet the body’s needs. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include frequent urination, tiredness, frequent thirst, and weight gain or loss. Nowadays, many youngsters are falling prey to type 2 diabetes owing to a sedentary lifestyle. Being overweight, obese, lack of exercise, stress, eating a high-calorie diet, and having a family history can increase your risk of getting diabetes.
Dr Sanjay Nagarkar, diabetologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Pune, highlighted, “Insulin resistance in young people can lead to diabetes as they will have to make more insulin than what is required on the normal basis in order to regulate the blood sugar levels. Those who are obese or overweight have insulin resistance. This insulin resistance will invite type 2 diabetes as the pancreas fails to make enough insulin and that is how your blood sugar level will increase. Young adults in the age group 20-40 can have an aggressive form of the condition impacting their quality of life.”
Dr Nisha Pansare, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Pune, explained how diabetes could also lead to other lifestyle diseases. “Cardiovascular diseases, kidney, eye, foot and nerve damage, skin conditions and even sexual dysfunction may occur owing to diabetes. Those males with diabetes tend to have low testosterone levels which can lead to reduced fertility, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and even loss of sex drive. Thus, getting screened on a regular basis for diabetes is essential,” she remarked.
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Dr Swati Gaikwad, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune, said the right way to go about managing the condition is by first debunking the myths. “Poor understanding of the condition has created fear and myths among people. It is essential for a doctor to educate patients about diabetes and allow them to do their real-world activities with ease. Many young women struggle with diabetes and are in a dilemma whether to disclose that they have this condition. There is the risk of the development of ketoacidosis (excess blood acids called ketones) and may require hospital admission. There is a social stigma regarding diabetes and those having it are blamed and shamed. Diabetes is linked to low fertility, PCOD, and other autoimmune diseases. Babies of the mothers who are diabetics may have birth defects and even heart and digestive health issues, have jaundice, or even premature birth can occur. Thus, it is the need of the hour to control this condition,” Dr Gaikwad said.
However, dietary changes can help manage diabetes. Cut down on chapati, processed, fried, spicy food, sweets, and sugary drinks. Maintain an optimum weight, exercise daily, have a low-salt diet, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.