Diabetes: Role of Obesity and Lifestyle Management
- 15th May 2020
Author,Dr. Pankaj Kumar
What realistically is Diabetes?
Diabetes correctly is a chronic disease that typically occurs when either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates and controls blood sugar. Overweight and obesity play a major role in causing diabetes to the affected people.
Ever since 1980, the number of people suffering from diabetes rose from 108 million to 422 million in 2014. Even the global prevalence of this disease among adults over 18 years old rose from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014 which indicates that the prevalence of diabetes has been rising exponentially!! The global diabetes prevalence in 2019 is estimated to be 9.3% (463 million diabetics), rising to 10.2% (578 million diabetics) by 2030 and 10.9% (700 million diabetics) by 2045.
Diabetes is a fatal disease and it slowly kills its prey over a time of few years. In 2016, it was estimated that 1.6 million people died due to diabetes while 2.2 million died because of high blood glucose. Moreover, diabetes is a major cause of heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation.
What can be the possible consequences of suffering from diabetes?
People suffering from diabetes have very high chances of damaging their heart, eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves.
Adults suffering from diabetes have a two to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
They may also get affected by foot ulcers, infection, and even the need for limb amputation due to the combined effect of reduced blood flow and nerve damage.
People may succumb to diabetic retinopathy and go completely blind which is caused due to long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Moreover, it has been found that 2.6% of the total global blindness is caused because of diabetes!
Many people suffering from diabetes fall prey to kidney failure too.
Can Diabetes be prevented or reduced?
Simple measures can help to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes-like maintaining a healthy body and optimum body weight, exercise regularly and be physically active, eating a healthy and a balanced diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake, and avoiding smoking or tobacco use which increases the risk of diabetes.
10 facts you must know regarding Diabetes
1. Having a sweet tooth does not cause diabetes
Your blood sugar levels escalate during diabetes however eating overmuch sugar or merely having a "sweet tooth" does not cause diabetes in a person. Diabetes is a risk associated with several factors like being overweight, obesity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, alcohol, and so on.
2. Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be managed.
Many people believe that the medicines prescribed by the doctors will cure their diabetes but the fact remains that it is a lifelong deal. Diabetes cannot be cured but can be certainly managed to help you live an ordinary life.
3. Diabetes is not at all limited to adults or old people
Diabetes is a polygenic disorder that may occur in people irrespective of their age or lifestyle however an unhealthy lifestyle makes you more prone towards diabetes. Henceforth, it can affect both children and adults.
4. Type 2 Diabetes isn't milder than Type 1
It is a wrong notion among people that Type 2 Diabetes is milder although both kinds of diabetes, if not treated properly or are mismanaged, can lead to serious and permanent complications! So, it's all about how you reasonably manage the disease whether its type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
5. The effect of Diabetes lies beyond than Just Blood Sugar Levels
People believe that having diabetes just means that they have high blood sugar. Although its effect lies beyond this as research has shown diabetes can affect multiple body systems and can cause several problems.
6. It’s not necessary to cut off all Sugar even if you are suffering from Diabetes!
It’s quite a common belief that if you are suffering from diabetes and are starting treatment, then you must completely cut off sweet from your diet. Although, with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and well-controlled blood glucose levels, you can have sweet once in a while.
7. Diagnosis of this disease can be emotionally challenging
Diabetes and Depression often tag along. Research has shown Diabetes and Depression share similar biological origins. Hormonal imbalance and high blood glucose during diabetes can cause an imbalance in the neurotransmitters which may lead to depression. Hence, it is highly advisable to avoid this negativity and pull yourself up. Look for help from a counselor if needed but fight it because diabetes is manageable.
8. Pre-diabetes can be reversed!
Prediabetes just causes slightly high blood glucose but it may easily turn into diabetes without proper care. But if enough care is taken, blood sugar levels are kept under a check then prediabetes can be reversed.
9. Proper Diabetes Management can prevent Foot and Leg problems.
Improper self-management of uncontrolled diabetes can inadvertently lead to severe complications! A quick internet search would give tons of hyperlinks related to problemata in the foot and leg due to diabetes but you need not be scared or overwhelmed. The foot and leg related problems usually occurred because of damage to the nerves, poor blood circulation, and slower healing but if proper care is taken and diabetes is managed then such things can be scarcely avoided.
10. Insulin may be necessary.
In some cases, diet and exercise aren’t enough to reduce your blood sugar levels, and then your doctor may advise you to contain tablets or even insulin. You may feel disheartened after trying so much but not obtaining the desired results eventually. But the fact is, that diabetes progresses gradually with time and in some cases becomes unmanageable by diet and exercise alone so hence insulin may be required then.
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