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Latest complications of diabetes and obesity: 4 proactive steps, lifestyle strategies to avoid them

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 22, 2024 09:13 AM IST

Health expert reveals the latest complications of diabetes and obesity and provides practical strategies to help you avoid them

Diabetes and obesity are two closely linked health conditions that have been on the rise globally and while the risks and complications associated with these conditions are well-known, new challenges continue to emerge. Today, we will explore the latest complications of diabetes and obesity and provide practical strategies to help you avoid them.

Latest complications of diabetes and obesity: 4 proactive steps, lifestyle strategies to avoid them (File Photo)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajiv Kovil, Head of Diabetology at Zandra Healthcare and Co-Founder of Rang De Neela Initiative, highlighted the latest complications of diabetes and obesity -

  1. Increased Risk of Severe Covid-19 Complications: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the heightened vulnerability of individuals with diabetes and obesity. Studies have shown that these conditions can significantly increase the risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and even death from Covid-19. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to maintain strict control of blood sugar levels, follow vaccination protocols, and adhere to preventive measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
  2. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): NAFLD is a growing concern among individuals with diabetes and obesity. This condition is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to inflammation, scarring, and potentially, liver failure. To address NAFLD, focus on weight management through a balanced diet and regular exercise, as well as regular monitoring of liver function through blood tests.
  3. Diabetic Retinopathy and Vision Loss: Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This condition can progress to vision loss if left untreated. Regular eye examinations and prompt treatment are crucial to prevent vision-related complications. Maintain tight control of blood sugar levels and work closely with an ophthalmologist to manage this risk.
  4. Cardiovascular Complications: Diabetes and obesity are major risk factors for heart disease, including heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. To mitigate these risks, adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise and the management of other risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  5. Nerve Damage (Neuropathy): Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, or neuropathy, which can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the extremities. If left untreated, neuropathy can lead to foot ulcers, infections, and even amputation. Maintain tight control of blood sugar levels, practice proper foot care, and seek prompt treatment for any signs of nerve damage.

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To avoid the latest complications of diabetes and obesity, Dr Rajiv Kovil suggested to consider the following strategies -

1. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Maintain a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Engage in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or strength training.
  • Prioritise stress management and get enough quality sleep.

2. Monitor and Manage Your Condition:

  • Work closely with your healthcare team to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels, weight, and other health markers.
  • Follow the recommended treatment plan, which may include medications, insulin therapy, or other interventions.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments and screenings, including eye exams, foot checks, and blood tests.

3. Stay Informed and Advocate for Your Health:

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest research and recommendations on diabetes and obesity management.
  • Educate yourself on the potential complications and be proactive in addressing any concerns.
  • Advocate for your health and be an active participant in your care.

4. Seek Support and Community:

  • Engage with support groups, either in person or online, to connect with others facing similar challenges.
  • Enlist the help of family and friends to provide encouragement and accountability in your health journey.
  • Consider working with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to develop a personalized plan.

By implementing these strategies, you can take proactive steps to avoid the latest complications of diabetes and obesity and improve your overall health and well-being. Remember, managing these conditions requires a lifelong commitment but the benefits of doing so are immense hence, with the right approach and support, you can take control of your health and reduce your risk of developing the most serious complications associated with diabetes and obesity.

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