Globally, one in 11 adults aged between 20-79 years have diabetes, says International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes is a chronic, progressive and damaging lifelong disease. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body produces insulin but it doesn't respond to it normally. Glucose is unable to enter the cells to supply energy (a problem called insulin resistance).
Dr Sneha Kothari, Endocrinologist, Global Hospital, Mumbai says:"Type 2 diabetes is no longer an old man's disease. Over the past decades, younger adults and children have been falling prey to this disease. Indians get type 2 diabetes not only at a younger age, but also at lower body mass index. The younger onset predisposes to greater risk of complications."
Overweight and obesity, previously thought of as conditions of the wealthy, are now increasingly affecting the poor. Around 11-12 per cent kids in the 2-4 age group in India are overweight. There has been a tectonic shift in the lifestyle of families with increased consumption of high-calorie diet, junk food, lesser physical and outdoor activities.
The term 'Diabesity' has been coined to denote the dual epidemic of diabetes and obesity. Also, Type 2 diabetes is a highly heritable condition, with a majority of children and youth affected having a first-or second-degree relative who also has Type 2 diabetes. However, with proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, it can be avoided, says the doctor.
Signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, patients can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. The common symptoms are increased thirst, frequent urination, increase in hunger, unintended weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, frequent infections.
Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages. Not dealing with diabetes can lead to long term complications like cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, loss of vision, foot, and nerve damage, bacterial and fungal infection and sexual dysfunction. Thus, it is the need of the hour to manage it and stay in top shape.
Follow these vital tips to tackle this condition and lead a healthy life:
1. Ditch those sodas and other aerated drinks. Drink water from time to time to stay hydrated and improve one's sugar control. Bid adieu to those artificially sweetened beverages and even fruit juices.
2. Choose healthier carbohydrates. See to it that you follow a diet low in carbohydrates and choose healthy carbohydrates. Too many carbs in your diet can lead to diabetes.
3. Eat whole grains like brown rice, whole oats, buckwheat. At the same time, it's also important to cut down on foods low in fibre such as white bread, white rice and highly processed cereals.
4. Eat in controlled proportions and don't go overboard. This will allow you to manage your blood sugar levels. Also, try to include foods rich in fibre in the diet. Eat broccoli, sprouts, carrot, asparagus, green peas, cauliflower, and even legumes.
5. Eat less red and processed meat. Red and processed meat like ham, bacon, sausages, beef and lamb have been linked to heart problems and cancer. Try swapping red and processed meat for egg whites, fish, poultry like chicken and turkey and unsalted nuts. Beans, peas and lentils are also very high in fibre, and don't affect blood glucose levels too much, thus they are a great swap for processed and red meat.
6. Choose healthier fats. We all need fat in our diet because it gives us energy. Healthier fats are found in foods like unsalted nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish, olive oil, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil. Saturated fats like ghee, butter can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood, It's still a good idea to cut down on using oils in general, so try to grill, steam or bake foods instead.
7. Cut down on added sugar. Cutting down sugar can be really hard at the beginning. Try to swap sugary drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices with water, plain milk, or tea and coffee without sugar.
8. Be smart with snacks. Choose yoghurts, unsalted nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables instead of crisps, chips, biscuits and chocolates. But watch your portions still.
When it comes to exercise, all movement counts! Consider incorporating such an exercise regime in daily routine to which one can adhere. The American Diabetic Association (ADA) recommends aerobic exercise and strength training for optimal physical fitness.
Aerobic exercise (anything that raises your heart rate) can be achieved through activities such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, tennis, basketball, and more. ADA recommends 150 min per week of moderate intensity exercise.
1. Consider parking as far from the door as you can on your trip to the store.
2. Exercise adds up. If you can't walk for 30 minutes, try three 10-minute walks per day.
3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. If you work at a desk, take a standing break every 15 minutes or so.
5. Strength training, sometimes called resistance training, focuses more on building or maintaining muscle. It improves blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. Exercise helps to shed those excess kilos, improves blood pressure, cholesterol and helps stay fit and fine.
6. Cut down on stress and relax by meditating and help you stay calm and composed.
It helps to stay away from smoking and alcohol as well. Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, and its complications. In prediabetics, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes.