With over 69.2 million peoplediagnosed with type 2 diabetes, India is often called the diabetes capital of the world. Whether we are living with the disease or have had family and friends with a diabetes diagnosis, diabetes is impacting all of us.
This disease is posing an enormous and growing health problem. India has seen a rapid rise of diabetes diagnoses according to the International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet on diabetes, an estimated 3.8 million deaths are caused by diabetes.
The hormone insulin is responsible for ensuring the sugar from the blood enters into your cells to be stored or used for energy.
In type 2 diabetes, your metabolism is damaged and sugar accumulates in your blood instead of entering into your cells. As a result, your blood sugar levels increase beyond normal levels.
Your pancreas takes it as an indication to release more insulin to help control the abnormally high blood sugar levels. But the insulin cannot be effectively used by your body anymore, due to damaged metabolism. That’s when your body develops insulin resistance.
Eventually, the beta cells in your pancreas become impaired and stop producing the insulin needed by your body to process the blood sugar successfully.
A crucial question for patients diagnosed with diabetes is how to control diabetes. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels from type 2 diabetes can damage your heart, nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other major organs.
Factors that lead to diabetes are an inactive lifestyle, a poor or imbalanced nutrition intake, and family history. Until recently, a diagnosis meant a you had a lifelong disease – with lifelong diabetes symptoms including fatigue, thirst, hunger, frequent urination, numbness, blurry vision and even sexual dysfunction.
And until recently, diabetes treatment meant you were burdened with a lifetime of medicine. A patient may start out on just one medicine, but that gradually increases to multiple medicines, and eventually even to insulin. Many people are surprised to hear that medicine can help control blood sugar, but it doesn’t bring it back down to normal, and it often causes side effects like weight gain, upset stomach, constipation, fatigue, and more.
Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?
You should always consult with your trusted doctor if you suspect you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Your doctor may conduct a glucose tolerance test or an impaired glucose tolerance test as one way to determine a diagnosis.
But in general, there are risk factors you should consider including:
Age: Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older.
Waist circumference: Waist size has been linked to type 2 diabetes risk – regardless of your weight or BMI. Researchers found that overweight people with a large waist (defined as over 102cm for men and 88cm for women) had a similar risk of developing diabetes to those who were diagnosed as clinically obese.
BMI: Your bod mass index (BMI) can be an important, though imperfect, indicator of type 2 diabetes. In general, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight. A BMI that ranges from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. And a BMI of 30 or higher falls into the obese category, according to the Centers for Disease Control in the US. Because type 2 diabetes and obesity are generally very tightly linked, having a high BMI can be an indicator that you should be tested for diabetes.
Assessment of physical activity: As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, researchers are focusing on discovering why it is increasing so rapidly. New research finds that not having regular physical activity impairs control of blood sugar levels, suggesting that inactivity may play a key role in the development of Type 2 diabetes for many people.
Family history: Family health history is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Most of us with type 2 diabetes have a family member – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister – with the disease already.
How can I prevent type 2 diabetes?
You may have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You may be overweight or have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and eye and foot problems. Pre-diabetes can also cause health problems. The good news is that you can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop health problems, so delaying diabetes by even a few years or preventing it all together will only benefit your health. You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight, following a precise nutrition plan, and having moderate activity most days of the week.
What is a diabetic diet?
Good nutrition keeps your blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range and improves your metabolism and overall health. The foods we eat have nutrients that our bodies use for energy to keep operating well. There are three different types of nutrients:
Macro nutrients: Carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Macro nutrients provide your body and organs with the nutrients they need to function to regulate your blood sugar.
Micro nutrients: Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Micronutrients make sure that your body is actually absorbing macro nutrients efficiently and using them effectively.
Biota nutrients: Nutrients that promote gut health. Studies have shown that microbiota have the ability to affect how our cells respond to insulin and can have a strong impact on type 2 diabetes.