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World Diabetes Day: What you Need to Know About this Sweet and Silent Killer

KEYPOINTS

  • Diabetes is a chronic disease and can be prevented through exercise and diet.
  • Diabetes causes kidney failure, blindness, and many health complications.
  • Increased physical activities, weight loss, and a healthy diet have been known to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • The pervasiveness of diabetes among people over the age of 18 rose from.7% to 8.5%, globally. 
  • Diabetes has become more common among young adults as the percentage of affected people above 18 years increased.
  • According to WHO, diabetes is one of the main causes of death globally. 

WORLD DIABETES DAY

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and educate people about the complications caused by this disease. It is also the birth date of Fredrick Banting who along with Charles Best discovered insulin in 1922.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that disturbs blood sugar and causes many health issues. The pancreas of a diabetic patient fails to regulate the production of insulin that breaks down glucose into energy. High levels of glucose also affect other organs of the body including kidney, heart, eyes, and limbs. Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to death and organ failures. 

Types of Diabetes and Symptoms 

Type 1 Diabetes (Also known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset) has a possibility of developing at any age although children and adolescents are more prone to it. This type of diabetes causes your body to produce little to no insulin. People with such kind of diabetes require daily shots of insulin to keep their glucose levels in check

Type 1 diabetes starts among children and teens when the body produces limited to no insulin. This requires regular insulin injections to regulate the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

Following are the few common symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Blindness

Type 2 Diabetes is more common in adults when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin produced. It is mainly caused due to excessive weight and inactivity and therefore, can be managed through a healthy lifestyle and proper diet. However, medication may be required to stabilize blood glucose.

Although the symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be similar to those of type 1, this type is more common among adults. Excessive inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle, youngsters are also becoming the victim of this disease. 

There is another more specific type of diabetes which is called ‘Gestational Diabetes’. It affects pregnant women and is diagnosed when the level of blood glucose is above the normal range but below the diagnostic standards. It is also called hyperglycemia as the body becomes intolerant to all forms of glucose and affects both the mother and the child. 

Diabetes causes other health complications that include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, digestion problems, retinopathy, skin conditions, nephropathy, foot impairment, hearing loss and also leads to mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

ACT SMART AND STOP DIABETES

The very first step in preventing a health problem is to understand its nature to prepare a suitable prevention plan for your condition. Type 2 diabetes is commonly found in adults who are at a greater risk of developing diabetes if they are overweight, have blood pressure, fluctuating cholesterol levels. One should act smart by incorporating effective strategies that may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Tips for Preventing Diabetes:

The following are some useful strategies that you can adopt to avoid getting diabetes.

  • Physical activity: Individuals likely to develop type 2 diabetes should incorporate different exercises in their daily life routine. Exercises as simple as walking, running and jogging are great ways to start and reduce unhealthy fats. Weight loss will help them reduce insulin resistance as its absorption is hindered due to excess fat. Other exercises such as swimming, cycling, yoga, and Pilates are also very helpful to maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Eat healthy foods: Eat smart and take in the food low in fat and high in fiber such as nuts, avocado, whole-grain bread, eggs, beans, unsweetened yogurt and more. Keep your diet tasty, nutritious and balanced which is a better way to counter the risk of diabetes and it also boosts the energy levels.
  • Avoid packaged food: Eat less packaged foods such as sweets, chips, and chocolates. Also reduce the intake of deep-fried foods, white bread, refined rice, etc.
  • Avoid smoking: People who smoke have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, if you are a full-fledged smoker, now is the right time to quit it!
  • Drink more water: Drinking more water helps to eliminate the risk of type 2 diabetes and assists in controlling blood sugar levels. Moreover, avoiding sugary drinks and juices also helps to counter the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Maximize vitamin D intake: Vitamin D helps control blood sugar levels and improve insulin response. People having vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop diabetes. Sources of vitamin D include food like tuna, cheese, eggs, cod liver oil, etc. Apart from these foods, sunlight is also a great source of vitamin D.
  • Intake of natural herbs: Intake of specific herbs helps in improved response to insulin and reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Curcumin is a natural component found in turmeric and has high anti-inflammatory properties that reduce prediabetes risk. It also helps to improve the productivity of insulin-producing cells. Berberineis found in herbs used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It helps in lowering blood sugar levels thereby increasing insulin responsiveness.

Stress and diabetes: There is a strong link between stress and diabetes, therefore, people with depression and anxieties are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Traumatic life events, emotional stress, anger issues, workplace stress, disturbed sleeping patterns are likely to add stress that may eventually cause diabetes. To counter stress, people must practice mindfulness techniques, anger management strategies such as taking deep breaths, laughing more often, talking to a friend or close family member and practicing meditation. All these activities greatly help to reduce stress and consequently eliminate the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

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