World Diabetes Day 2020: Expert Tells How Lifestyle Changes Help Manage Diabetes Effectively
World Diabetes Day is observed on every 14 November to spread information about the this chronic condition. The theme for the World Diabetes Day 2020 is 'nurses and diabetes.' This theme highlights the role of nurses in prevention and management of diabetes
World Diabetes Day 2020: Diabetes is a chronic condition which requires constant blood sugar management
- Regular exercise can help control blood sugar levels
- A low GI diet is recommended in diabetes to control blood sugars
- Diabetes can consume fruits in moderation
World Diabetes Day 2020: Diabetes is a formidable health challenge globally. It is a metabolic disease characterised by a high level of glucose in the body due to the inability of the pancreas to produce or use adequate insulin. People with diabetes are at higher risks for diseases of the heart, eye, kidney, blood vessels and nerves. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and 1.6 million people die every year due to the disease. According to the WHO, people in the low-income and developing countries are more vulnerable to diabetes. India leads South East Asia in diabetes cases. According to the International Diabetes Foundation's Diabetes Atlas of 2019, one out of six diabetes patients globally, reside in India. The report also predicts that diabetes cases in India are expected to increase to over 134 million in the next 25 years, which is an alarming situation and needs immediate attention.
Broadly, there are three types of diabetes- Type 1 diabetes wherein the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells, Type 2 diabetes where the human body does not produce adequate insulin or develops resistance to it, and gestational diabetes that is detected during pregnancy and can cause complications to both, the mother and the child. Type 2 diabetes is more common and is caused by a combination of factors such as sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Stress also plays an important role. Gestational diabetes ensues due to hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy.
Frequent urination, frequent thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue and weight loss are common symptoms, but may only be present in 60% of patients. Diabetes can be diagnosed through blood tests, namely fasting plasma glucose and oral glucose tolerance test.
Type-1 diabetes is insulin dependent and can be kept in check by administering insulin injections. Currently, many classes of oral anti-diabetic drugs are available. It is advisable to consult your physician to know which drug suits you best.
It is also to be noted that tackling type-2 diabetes requires a multi-pronged approach rather than medicines alone. It has been witnessed that people suffering from type-2 diabetes have claimed reversing the condition through lifestyle modifications. A combination of at least 30 minutes of regular exercise, a balanced diet intake, abstaining from simple carbohydrates and processed foods can play a pivotal role in preventing complications resulting from diabetes such as stroke, damage to the retina, kidneys and heart disease. Carbohydrates should not contribute to more than 50-55% of calories and fruits; vegetables and whole grains should be incorporated into the diet. Quitting smoking and limiting the consumption of alcohol and controlling blood pressure go a long way in managing this condition. In addition, at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise like brisk walking, running, or a cardiovascular workout will help in controlling weight; weight is the major culprit that accelerates the risk of diabetes. Several kinds of research have been commissioned to improvise the diabetes treatment.
It is to be explained to the patient that people with diabetes can also lead a healthy, complication free and a productive life through changes in lifestyle, regular checkups and a regime of a balanced diet and exercise, and therefore advice on lifestyle modification should be an integral part of every diabetes prescription.
(Dr. Dheeraj Kapoor, Head - Endocrinology, Artemis Hospitals )
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