Diabetes is the general term used for conditions which lead to an increase in blood sugars and includes Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes and other forms of diabetes like secondary diabetes.
These occur when pancreas is either unable to make sufficient amounts of insulin, or the insulin produced does not act properly (a condition known as insulin resistance).
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which insulin producing cells are unable to make any insulin. Secondary diabetes may result due to ingestion of some medications like steroids etc or as an outcome of surgery where pancreas is also involved.
Diabetes can be easily controlled by a combination of diet, exercise and medicines. Long term uncontrolled sugars may lead to complications involving heart, eye, nerves and kidneys. It is possible to avoid/prevent complications with good blood sugar control.
There are some risk factors which may lead to increased chances of having diabetes, says Dr. S K Wangnoo, Senior Consultant (Endocrinology), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
-Family history of diabetes
- Lifestyle: Sedentary habits, eating more of "junk foods", fizzy drinks, and erratic meal habits - all contribute towards the risk of having diabetes. Every extra hour of sitting increases risk of having diabetes by a fifth.
- Weight gain: Obesity is one of the biggest triggers for future diabetes. Try to maintain ideal body weight: BMI < 22.9 Kg/m2 and waist circumference to less than 90 cm in male & 80 cm in females.
- Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have an elevated risk of developing diabetes. They should be advised regarding good diet and lifestyle and regular follow up with their treating doctors.
What can be done?
-Maintain a balanced diet routine. Eating at right time, appropriate amount with a balance carbohydrates, fats and proteins with fruits is essential. Not going on empty stomach for long hours and not missing the meals are important. Studies have shown that missing breakfast ups the risk for developing diabetes.
- Exercise regularly: Sedentary habits are contributing in a big way to increasing incidences of diabetes. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise daily which anyone can maintain and enjoy over a period of time without injuring oneself should be pursued daily.
- Get rid of excess weight through a regimented diet and exercise plan. There are no short cuts to lose weight. Weight loss and good diet can even reverse pre diabetes.
- Adequate sleep: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every day is very important. It is during our sleep time that our body rejuvenates itself by eliminating the toxins which accumulate during the time we are awake. Late nights and late mornings also up the risk for having diabetes and hypertension.
-Manage stress: Stress has invaded every part of human life in today's world. From kids to elderly, stress has become all-encompassing. This is due to stiff competition in every part of life, no time for recreational activities or socialising and back-breaking workload. While this needs to be addressed at a higher level, it is essential that a person find ways to mitigate this stress.
- See your doctor in case of any queries rather than following "internet advice".