World Diabetes Day: Importance of managing the disease

New Delhi: India is currently staring at a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Of all these, diabetes, perhaps poses the biggest risk.

An uncontrolled and poorly or unmanaged diabetes can cause various health complications, further leading to mortality.

Uncontrolled diabetes damages blood vessels over the time and makes a person two to three times more susceptible to problems, such as coronary heart disease.

Experts, on the World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated on November 14, said that awareness needs to be raised on the importance of maintaining blood glucose levels through appropriate lifestyle modifications and effective management of diabetes.

India currently represents 49 percent of the world’s diabetes burden, with an estimated 72 million cases, a figure expected to almost double to 134 million by 2025.

Dr Manoj Kumar of Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, said, “When diabetes remains uncontrolled, it can cause a range of other potential health complications including heart disease. Some factors that can exacerbate this condition include hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, tobacco use, and physical inactivity.”

He added, “People living with diabetes, therefore, should be aided in controlling blood glucose and glycated haemoglobin with available resources. Education on minimizing risks and omitting avoidable risk factors is also imperative. Apart from this, following the correct medication schedule and making certain lifestyle changes to lower the cardiovascular risk factors in people with diabetes is absolutely a must.”

Padma Shri awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, further stated that Type 2 diabetes is increasingly becoming common among younger Indians. He said that this puts them at a greater risk of life-threatening complications including kidney damage and heart disease.

“Apart from the usual culprits such as an unhealthy eating pattern and inactivity, not undertaking preventive health checkups in a timely manner is also a big risk factor. There is also a belief that because young people with Type 2 diabetes do not need insulin, it is not as sinister as it seems. However, this is a false notion. This condition requires immediate treatment and management. This is more so because a young person with Type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms or they may be very mild,” said Aggarwal.

Apart from lifestyle changes and timely health tests, operating as a team and a family in adopting a healthy routine right at the outset is much more likely to be successful in preventing or managing diabetes. Here are some tips to keep yourself healthy:
– Indulge in regular physical activity for about 30 minutes every day for weight loss, reducing blood sugar levels, and boosting insulin sensitivity

– Eat healthy food that is rich in fibre such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Avoid packaged and processed food
– Smoking and alcohol are major risk factors and should be avoided
-Get your blood sugar levels checked timely, especially if you have a family history of the condition. This will help you in taking preventive action at the earliest