The number of people diagnosed with Diabetes has been steadily growing every year. And India has been placed the first– with the tag “The diabetes capital of the world.”
Ever wondered what attributes to the sudden hike? Well, many! But the changing environment, lifestyle factors, and food consumption patterns are leading the forefront to add to the increase.
And if you are reading this, you or your loved one might be a diabetes patient. So, one needs to know that whether you or your loved one has been diagnosed with this autoimmune ailment, understanding it, taking action, and sticking can make one live their best life!
This article talks about what Diabetes is, its various causes and types, and how one can control Diabetes and manage it.
Let’s dig in!
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when one’s blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your primary source of energy and comes from your food. While insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.
In some cases, a body may not be able to make enough – or any – insulin or is not able to use this produced insulin. In such a scenario, glucose stays in the blood and does not reach the cells to be utilized.
Anyone can get Diabetes, irrespective of age, race, or gender. Since it’s a lifestyle disease, there is no absolute ‘cure’ for it, but with the proper guidance and understanding of Diabetes, one can learn how to live with it well and go into remission.
Causes and Types of Diabetes
The International Diabetes Federation found that around 72.9 million people above the age of 18 years in India had diabetes in 2017. A 2017 study also found that diabetes prevalence was higher in urban areas.
Such statistics are alarming and indicate that we need to prevent it at the grassroots level. Diabetes may occur in individuals for various reasons, including dietary habits, genes, environment, general health, and lifestyle.
The main types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes, and they are based on different causes.
Type 1 diabetes includes bodies that cannot make insulin, so the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas – hence people afflicted by this type need to take insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of Diabetes ailment and occurs when the body produces enough insulin or uses the insulin very well.
Another type of diabetes called gestational Diabetes mostly happens during pregnancy in women and tends to go away once the baby is born. However, this type of Diabetes does create a risk of getting Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Other reasons for Diabetes include inherent and genetic Diabetes called monogenic Diabetes. There also exist diseases of the exocrine pancreas, such as pancreatitis. Another type of Diabetes also has drug-induced Diabetes.
Understanding what may have caused Diabetes not only is insightful for you but will also help you plan the best possible lifestyle for you with help from functional medicine.
How to Control Diabetes?
Controlling Diabetes involves the different aspects of lifestyles and inherent characteristics one must understand about themselves. Understanding how nutrition, fitness, weight control, and genetics help individuals carve a life around Diabetes.
1. Nutrition for Diabetes
The Nutrition Consensus Report for Diabetes showed that everyone’s body responds differently to different foods and diets, so there is no single “magic” diet for Diabetes. But you can follow a few simple guidelines to find out what works for you to help manage your blood sugar.
Sometimes, dieticians might ask you to follow the Diabetes Plate Method’ (50% nonstarchy vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% carbohydrate-rich foods). But personalization is the key, and other than this, one must always try to follow a nutrient-rich diet.
It doesn’t matter where you may be physical. If you’ve never set foot in a gym, that’s okay, you can start with walking your dog or joining a dance class. If you haven’t been regularly active or are worried about your health, it’s essential to consult your doctor and start slowly. Even getting 150 minutes of exercise every week is a great goal to have, and it is known that movement has a significant impact on your overall health.
Managing the time put into exercise, understanding your body’s reaction to exercise — be it blood sugar level spikes, etc., and exercising as and when it suits you is a great way to live with Diabetes.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes and so do the other types of Diabetes. But two factors are essential in both. If you inherit a predisposition to the disease, something in your environment triggers it.
Genes are not enough to give someone diabetes, and following a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise may prevent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in children. For Type 1 diabetes, risk factors need to be inherited by the child from their parents – which external environmental factors can later trigger—so evaluating the environment in both types becomes extremely important.
Living With Diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes include:
- increased thirst and urination
- increased hunger
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- sores that do not heal
- unexplained weight loss
What are diabetes problems, and how to manage them?
Having Diabetes may make one more susceptible to many health problems. If not controlled, diabetes can lead to more problems over time, including heart diseases, stroke, kidney problems, eyesight issues, dental disease, nerve damage, or even foot problems.
Of course, there are particular ways in which susceptibility to all the above ailments can be reduced by carefully charting a lifestyle to control Diabetes and its associated problems. And changes can look like following a healthy well-suited meal plan, maintaining your sugar levels and blood pressure, getting your eyes and teeth checked regularly, etc.
As long as one takes care of their overall health, the diabetes symptoms can be managed.
Diabetes is one of the most common autoimmune diseases that has been grasping over the world’s ever-growing population. It becomes more vital for people to understand that living with Diabetes is not the wrong path. It is a journey involving lifestyle changes, experiments, and understanding your own body to live life the way you want –in no way and limiting yourself.
This attempt leads to the beginning of gathering a better understanding of how one can lead a healthier life—from all the tools and health guidance, and food ideas you need. At whatever stage you are in with diabetes, you should be aware that you are blessed with choices and do not need to hold back. One shall still live the best life with diabetes just by being consistent in their best habits.