You can win the battle against diabetes
On World Diabetes Day, Dr Mohsin Wali, former physician to the President of India, tells us how we can prevent and reverse diabetes with lifestyle changes
Diabetes isn’t a serious disease. Avoid insulin as it has harmful side effects. If you are taking insulin, you don’t really need a lifestyle makeover. How many times do you hear frivolous statements like these about diabetes? Although it’s becoming shockingly common, diabetes remains one of the most misunderstood diseases. Dr Mohsin Wali, the former physician to the President of India, helps us separate facts from fiction, something that often leaves us confused.
In type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin, while in type 2, the body produces excessive insulin, but it fails to act over the cells to bring down sugar level. Type 1 diabetes is encrypted in the genes, and one needs to manage it in a healthy way. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, can be prevented and reversed if you work hard on it.
NO LONGER THE RICH MAN’S DISEASE
Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing disorders in the world. Shockingly, India is set to become the diabetes capital of the world by 2050. “Stress, faulty eating habits, obesity and sedentary lifestyle has led to this situation. Indian diet is generally high is carbohydrates, which is a contributor. Children as young as 12 are becoming diabetic. Also, earlier, it was believed that diabetes is the disease of the well fed, but now it is prevalent even in rural areas, and the underprivileged are getting affected, too. The reasons could be gradual urbanisation, a stressful life and no time or inclination to work out,” says Dr Wali.
DIABETES CAN BE LIFETHREATENING
When diabetes is detected for the very first time, almost 1/3rd of the pancreas is already damaged. “That is why, working hard towards prevention is very important. It is a disease that is dangerous for your entire body, from the root of the hair to the tip of the toe. Every single organ of your body gets impacted,” says Dr Wali. Diabetes makes you prone to heart attack and stroke. It can cause infections in the most vital organs such as kidneys, pancreas, heart and eyes. It can also lead to early cataract, dental problems, acne, hair fall, vaginal infections, nervous system disorders, and impotency.
Diabetes prevention must start during childhood. “Inculcate discipline in children. Getting up early, sleeping on time, adequate physical activity (at least 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week), cutting down on junk food and having a balanced/ healthy diet can go a long way in preventing the disease.
REVERSING TYPE 2 DIABETES
Diabetes can be conquered with the help of anti-diabetes drugs and insulin and lifestyle management under the supervision of your family doctor with the consultation of a diabetologist.
Make changes to your diet for a better tomorrow. Cut down on carbohydrates, and consume adequate amounts of fibre and protein. Switch to brown rice, and remove white flour and refined sugar from your diet. Have fruits such as pomegranate, peaches, watermelon, papaya, coconut, oranges and pears. Ask your doctor about the ideal portion of fruit to have. Avoid processed fruit juice. Avoid marmalade, jam, icecream, chocolate, pastries, cakes, potato, bananas, grapes, red meat, heavy gravy and oily food. Do not smoke, as it aggravates the damage to pancreas. Also try and avoid alcohol. Stress is the biggest trigger for diabetes. De-stress by practicing yoga, deep breathing, and getting adequate sleep. Yoga poses like Halasana, dhanurasana and vrikshasana are beneficial. Increase your intake of antioxidants. Have amla (Indian gooseberry). Add turmeric powder to your glass of milk. Also have black gram, karela (bitter gourd), methi (fenugreek), kalonji (nigella seeds) and herbs such as gudmar leaves, as they are beneficial in managing blood sugar.
India is set to become the diabetes capital of the world by 2050. We are heading towards a serious health disaster. Stress, faulty eating habits, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle has led to this situation DR MOHSIN WALI, PHYSICIAN & CARDIOLOGIST