- Control blood sugar levels with healthy lifestyle
- Healthy weight can help fight the risk of diabetes
- Do not ignore the symptoms of diabetes
At present, there are approximately 77 million Indians living with diabetes. This means that every sixth person with diabetes is an Indian. Around the world, Type-2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases. There has been a staggering increase in diabetes in India over the last 3 decades. It is estimated that in Indian metropolitan cities, almost 20% of people at the age of 20, and 35-40% at the age of 60 may have diabetes. (CARRS Study 2013). Furthermore, there is a sharp increase in type-2 diabetes in children and teenagers, even though it was traditionally regarded as a disease of adults. It is estimated that by 2030, nearly 98 million people in India may have type-2 diabetes. These alarming figures make it imperative to stem the rising tide of diabetes. Even as type 2 diabetes has continued to permeate in Indian society, awareness of its causes, symptoms, and treatment is low. To mitigate the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, it is important to educate everyone on the issue and ensure that the early symptoms of type-2 diabetes are not ignored and are given proper medical attention and care.
What is type-2 diabetes? Know causes, symptoms and much more
Diabetes is a progressive disease that occurs when your body is unable to produce or use an adequate amount of insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels that can damage your body over time. Insulin is a hormone that uses glucose from food for energy. Type-2 diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce enough insulin and cannot effectively use the produced insulin. This condition is called insulin resistance, and it may take several months or even years to develop.
Causes of type-2 diabetes
The symptoms of type-2 diabetes may not be visible at onset - in fact, 50% of those with diabetes have no symptoms. Some may present with acute symptoms early in the course of disease but often by the time symptoms manifest, organ damage may already have taken place. Testing blood glucose in those at risk of developing diabetes is important even if they have no symptom. All Indians should be screened periodically once they cross 30. Earlier testing should be carried out for all those with family history, obesity, and women with a history of PCOS or large sized babies. Those presenting with high blood pressure or high cholesterol are also more likely to be suffering from diabetes.
Scientific evidence suggests that not only Indians have an increased degree of insulin resistance as well as pancreatic beta cell dysfunction.
Although genetic predisposition to diabetes is a concern, lifestyle choices are worthy of equal consideration. Adapting an active lifestyle that incorporates a healthy diet plan and regular exercise, can significantly reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes - even for people who have a family history of diabetes. It is essential to keep weight in control if the BMI is below 23, the risk of diabetes is clearly low. The ideal waist circumference is below 80 cms for women and 90 cms for men.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
People may present with the following symptoms- alone or in combination:
- Frequent urination as your body expels excess glucose due to high blood sugar levels. The need for urination is higher, especially in the nighttime
- Increased thirst resulting from frequent urination. The resulting dehydration from frequent urination causes an urge to drink water to replenish the body
- Excessive hunger or increased appetite. Since glucose is unable to enter the cells, your cells signal that you should continue to eat so they can get the glucose they need
- Tiredness and fatigue as the sugar moving into the body's cells are insufficient, leading to the production of less energy
- Increase rate of infections as glucose in urine propels the growth of fungus and bacteria
- Poor or blurry vision due to the presence of high sugar levels in the fluid of your eye
- Sudden weight loss as your body substitutes fat for energy when the blood cells cannot absorb enough glucose
If you are leading an unhealthy lifestyle, have a family history of diabetes or are experiencing against the symptoms as mentioned above, seeing your doctor to test for type 2 diabetes is essential. Diagnosed early, type 2 diabetes can be controlled, and sometimes even reversed. A healthy lifestyle can certainly slow the progress of the disease and can prevent or reduce long term impact on the heart, kidneys, eyes and other organs
The components of a healthy lifestyle include a diet low in refined carbohydrates and trans or saturated fat, greater intake of fiber and protein, and regular physical exercise. Maintaining ideal body weight is your biggest protection against developing diabetes.
(Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman and Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Healthcare Hospitals, Delhi)
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