World Diabetes Day: A close-look at the silent killer and ways to overpower it

  • Deekshita Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 14, 2014 19:22 IST

According to a study conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), doctors in India are fitting bands on children as young as 13.

Prevalence rates are up to 20% in some cities, and recent figures showed surprisingly increased rates in rural areas too. If this is not problem enough, around 8.7% of the urban population is affected by Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT). It is believed that around 35% of IGT sufferers go on to develop type-2 diabetes. This only leads to one thing: India is at a high risk of facing a healthcare crisis.

Dr Sujeet Jha, Director Endocrinology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says, "In the last few years, we have witnessed a rise in the number of diabetics in their 30s. It is a point of concern as 10-15% of the population is affected by it."

What most people are unaware of is that diabetes can lead to chronic long-term complications and in case of gestational diabetes; it can affect the unborn child too.

"In metros, around 20% of the population suffers from gestational diabetes. This form of diabetes affect the unborn child and in most cases for the mother develops into type 2 diabetes," says Jha.

Now, you would ask, why is there a sudden rise of diabetics among the youth? The answer is for all to see! Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions among India's middle-class children owing to the faulty diets and physical inactivity. Some repercussions had to be there.

"Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight or obese should therefore be encouraged to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight as weight loss improves insulin resistance and reduces hypertension," says Dr Muhammed Majeed, Founder & MD, SAMI Group.

In India, diabetes is now, home to more than 65.1 million people compared to 50.8 million in 2010. The number of Indians suffering from this malicious disease is expected to cross the 100 million mark by 2030.

On World Diabetes Day, we tell you how dangerous is the silent killer and ways to overpower it.

Chronic long-term complications
"People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems. High blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. In addition, people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections," says Dr Majeed.

Here's a run-down on the diseases you might develop:
Cardiovascular disease: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose and other risk factors contribute to increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Kidney disease: Fluctuation in levels of blood glucose and blood pressure can greatly affect the risk of kidney disease. Damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys can lead to poor functioning of the organ.

Nerve disease: Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves throughout the body. This can lead to problems like erectile dysfunction and loss of feeling. People with diabetes carry a greater risk of amputation than that of people without diabetes.

Eye disease: Diabetes leads to retinopathy causing reduced vision or blindness. High levels of blood glucose, together with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are the main causes.

Pregnancy complications: High blood glucose during pregnancy can lead to the foetus putting on excess weight. This can lead to problems in delivery, trauma to the child and mother, and a sudden drop in blood glucose for the child after birth. Children who are exposed for a long time to high blood glucose in the womb are at higher risk of developing diabetes in the future.

Watch your diet
* Gudmar is the best herb for digesting sugar in the pancreas. A combination of gudmar and shilajit is an excellent remedy for diabetes.

* Take more fresh vegetables and bitter herbs like gokshura (tyribulus terristris), musta(cyperus rotundus), fenugreek or coriander, mixed with honey.

* Triphala with amla juice can also be used to heal diabetes. Dry ginger, cardamom, and sandalwood is useful too.

Work it out
There is a lot of evidence that lifestyle changes can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Dr Jha says, "Whatever you do, just don't stop walking. A session for 30 mins per day is more than enough."

He further adds, "One needs to realise that there is no magic treatment for diabetes. Living a healthy lifestyle is the key."

Increased physical activity is important in maintaining weight loss and is linked to reduced blood pressure, reduced heart rate, increased insulin sensitivity, improved body composition and psychological well-being.

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