Type II Diabetes mellitus is a non-communicable disease with a significant rise in prevalence over the last 3 to 4 decades. currently it is as bad as an epidemic! Diabetes was once almost exclusively a disease seen among the older generation but unfortunately at present it seems to strike the younger generation more with childhood obesity and unhealthy lifestyle habits becoming a global concern.
What is type ii DM?
The main source of cellular energy in the body is the simple sugar, glucose.
The human body has an intricate metabolic mechanism of controlling the glucose level in the blood where it does not soar too high or dip too low. Any indication of a high level of blood glucose will trigger the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone, to transport the excess sugar into cells.
Failure of the pancreas to produce insulin or the body’s inability to utilize the insulin that is being produced can lead to diabetes.
Chronically high sugar levels are toxic to cells causing cardiovascular, kidney, nerve and eye damage.
Here are a few simple day-to-day lifestyle modifications to prevent diabetes and also have a good glycemic control if you are already diabetic.
01. Reducing the carb load in the diet.
All carbohydrates in food are broken down into smaller sugar molecules. Refined sugars and complex carbohydrates break down faster and can lead to glucose spikes, making the necessity of insulin more.
Healthy dietary substitutes like non-starchy vegetables, high-fiber food and lean proteins are life savers over soda, candy, and wheat-flour based food.
02. Regular exercise
Prevention of sedentary lifestyle and obesity is one way that regular exercises can help prevent type II DM as obesity is correlated with insulin resistance.
Regular exercises are especially helpful in pre-diabetic states, reversing the risk of developing the disease.
As little as 150 mins a week of simple exercises like brisk walking, has proven to be beneficial in reducing long term complications of diabetes.
03. Quit smoking
Just as smoking is a high-risk factor for heart diseases, lung diseases and cancer, it also poses a risk for Diabetes as Nicotine increases blood sugar levels while simultaneously reducing insulin sensitivity.
People who have diabetes and smoke, often need larger doses of synthetic insulin to maintain their blood glucose at target levels.
04. Replace sugary drinks with tea, coffee and clear water.
Adequate water is vital for maintaining a healthy metabolic system.
Coffee and tea (with no added sugar as sweetener) contain polyphenols and antioxidants that protect against DM.
Fruit juices are as bad as sodas due to their high sugar content which is easily prevented by eating the fruit., which is also higher in fiber.
05. Cut-down the booze!
Yes, you can still drink if you are diabetic but hypoglycemia is actually a killer compared to hyperglycemia and alcoholics tend to drink on an empty stomach triggering dangerous hypoglycemic episodes.
Also, some alcoholic drinks are high in malt, sugar and calories. Alcohol in moderation is advisable to all pre diabetics and diabetics.
06. Be compliant with medication.
If you are a diabetic, its best to be regular with your medications.
Patient education on getting regular home-sugar-readings to assess day-day-control along with monthly fasting blood sugar values reviewed by a physician helps maintain a meticulous Diabetic control.
The HbA1C report once in 3-6 months also gives an idea of Diabetic control over a long period and acts as a warning for complications.
Diabetes is not a curable disease but with thorough control, can be managed in a range that systemic, undesirable complications like kidney failure, chronic wounds leading to limb amputations, diabetic eye disease related loss of vision can be minimized or avoided.
A routine clinic follow up is essential for patients with NCDs as drug doses and regimens might have to be altered according to other comorbidities, age and drug-responsiveness.
Being diabetic feels like a whole new lifestyle but that does not necessarily mean it has to limit your life in any way. Your pancreas is ill but you aren’t.
Afterall, a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming circumstances – Christopher Reeve-