diabetes: Symptoms, facts, myths: Everything you need to know about diabetes

India is often termed as the world’s ‘
Diabetes Capital‘, and not without reason. Data released by
the official World Health Organisation in 2017 had India topping the list of countries with the highest number of diabetics at 31.7 million, with over 72 million cases alone that year. It also sent off warning bells when it projected that the number is expected to double by 2023.

Here’s a lowdown on what makes Diabetes such a deadly disease, and particularly in the Indian context.

What is diabetes?

When the pancreas (the critical controller of blood sugar levels) fails to generate insulin or is unable to use the little quantity produced, it leads to high glucose levels or sugar in blood, which is commonly called as diabetes. Insulin helps the glucose (produced from the food we eat) to produce energy after it passes from the bloodstream into the cells.

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Types of diabetes

The following are the five types of diabetes that exist. However, it’s Type 1 and Type 2 that affect a majority of the population.

Type 1 – This type develops in childhood. In this autoimmune condition, pancreas create no or very little insulin in the body.

Type 2 – More people develop this type of diabetes due to incorrect
lifestyle choices. The polygenic disease triggers when the body is unable to use the hormone insulin and keep the blood sugar in check.

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Gestational Diabetes – This occurs during
pregnancy and usually goes away after childbirth. Women who develop this are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young) is a rare form of diabetes that generally occurs before the age of 25 in individuals of normal weight.

Other types of diabetes can also occur in individuals suffering from certain health conditions such as cancer or pancreatitis, which can damage the pancreas, or as a result of accidents.

Cause

Genetics plays an instrumental role. Coupled with that a modern, sedentary lifestyle aggravates the onset of Type 1 diabetes. Too much of exposure to technology leading to reduced sleep cycle, along with binge-eating on junk and fast food items, skipping exercise exercise and other factors expedite diabetes.

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Who does it affect?

Diabetes can
affect anyone and every one.
Working professionals between 30-34 years remain more vulnerable than the older age groups, with
working women at higher risk as compared to men.

However, diabetes in
children should also not be taken lightly. In India, over 70,200 children have been living with Type 1 diabetes, a study carried out by the International Diabetes Foundation in 2011 had said.

Symptoms

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes start quickly. The most
common diabetes symptoms include sores taking way too long to heal, feeling hungry or thirsty more often, feeling the need to urinate more, experiencing fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and
blurred vision.

However, symptoms in type 2 diabetes go unnoticed as it takes years for it to develop. It only gets diagnosed when patients experience heart problems or blurred vision.

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Precautions

Various lifestyle choices can help diabetic patients lead a
healthy life.

Daily routine

Establishing a schedule is vital for patients dealing with diabetes. A disciplined lifestyle of waking up early, healthy eating habits, taking shots on time and indulging in physical activities will bring out a positive change in their life.

Eating habits

It is extremely important to monitor
eating habits, unpredictable appetite or eating disorder, especially if you are a ‘picky eater’. Look for healthy and
nutritional alternatives. Consumption of
junk food should be controlled or even restricted in some cases. Try eating
apples, legumes, blueberries, avocados, beans, etc to keep blood sugar levels in control.

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Physical activity

Diabetic patients tends to get affected by
weight and body image concerns. Exercise regularly, and indulge in non-exerting sports and/or
extra curriculum activities.

Timely medication

It is extremely necessary to take medicines on time to treat/control diabetes. It is important that patients involve their near and dear ones in their diabetes management process. Supervision, and involvement in insulin and blood glucose monitoring is an integral part of the entire process.

Psychological support

The family support plays a key role in helping diabetic people lead a fit life.

Diabetes Food Check: Eat Apples & Avocados, Junk Most Things White…

Food Matters

14 Nov, 2017

The life you lead and the food you eat are two important factors when it comes to diabetes. Both play a role for those who are already battling it and for those who remain vulnerable to it.

Whole foods that are not processed should always be on the menu. But also remember that some items have to be away from the dining table if you want to steer clear of diabetes.

Additionally, avoid special diets and stick to what you make at home. Just follow the basic rules like keeping a constant calorie count during meals.

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