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Special on World’s Diabetes Day-Expert Views

ADVISORY ON DIABETES

By: Dr. Manoj Kumar, Consultant, Endocrinology Department, Jaypee Hospital, Noida

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

In Type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1 whereas in Type 2 Diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function and approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. The third type is Gestational diabetes, which affects females during pregnancy. Diabetes can be controlled through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control. If diabetes is not adequately controlled then the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications related to heart, kidneys, eyes, foot, nerve etc.

 

 Some risk factors that lead to increased chances of having diabetes are:

  1. Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle, eating more of junk food, fizzy drinks, and erratic meal habits – all contribute to developing a risk of diabetes. Continuous sitting for long hours also increases the risk of having diabetes.
  2. Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity: One is more likely to develop the risk of diabetes, if he is not physically active and is overweight or obese. Extra weight causes insulin resistance. The location of body fat also makes a difference. Extra belly fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease. One should try and maintain an ideal weight by keeping a check on Body Mass Index (BMI).
  3. Genes and family history: Certain genes may make you more likely to develop diabetes. People who have a family history of diabetes are more prone to developing the disease.

Women and Diabetes:

Diabetes currently affects over 246 million people worldwide and over half of these are women. Women should be aware of the symptoms of gestational diabetes and diabetes resulting from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).  Treating diabetes at early stage can help to prevent further health complications.

Women having diabetes may experience the following symptoms:

 

  • Vaginal and oral yeast infections and vaginal thrush
  • Urinary infections
  • Female sexual dysfunction
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

These are over and above the general symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, weight loss or gain, blurred vision, Slow healing of wound, reduced feeling in your hands or feet etc.

Treatment

At all stages of life, women’s bodies present obstacles for managing diabetes and blood sugar. Problems may occur because of-

  • The fluctuating hormones associated with the menstrual cycle, childbearing, and menopause making it more difficult to maintain proper blood glucose levels.
  • Birth control pills may also increase blood glucose levels.
  • Glucose in the body can cause yeast infections too. This is because glucose speeds the growth of fungus. One can potentially avoid yeast infections altogether by maintaining better control of blood sugar.

Taking insulin as prescribed, exercising regularly, reducing carb intake, choosing low-glycemic foods, and monitoring blood sugar can reduce the complications associated with the disease.

Keeping Diabetes at bay

  1. Exercise regularly: Sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common contributing factors to increasing incidences of diabetes. At least 30-45 minutes of daily exercise will help keep the disease at bay.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet routine: Eating at right time, a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is essential. Being empty stomach for long hours and missing the meals should be avoided.
  3. Maintaining weight: One should try and maintain their weight by controlled diet and regular exercise. Weight loss and good diet can even reverse pre diabetes.
  4. Adequate sleep: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every day is very important. It is during our sleep hours that our body rejuvenates itself by eliminating the toxins. Staying awake till late night or sleeping till late in the mornings increases the risk of having diabetes and hypertension.
  5. Avoid Stress: Stress has become an indispensable part of everyone’s life today. One should try and avoid stress by recreational activities or socialising. Also, people start smoking cigarettes in stress which is not advisable as it increases the risk of developing diabetes.

 

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