Iden­ti­fy­ing the prob­lem

Friday - - Society Living Leisure -

So how does di­a­besity af­fect your health, and what can you do to pre­vent it?

Di­a­betes mel­li­tus, or sim­ply di­a­betes, is a group of meta­bolic dis­eases caus­ing high blood sugar. There are three types of di­a­betes. Type 1 is the kind you’re born with – the body’s im­mune sys­tem de­stroys the in­sulin-pro­duc­ing cells (in­sulin is the hor­mone that helps your body use the glu­cose in your blood to give you en­ergy) – and can’t be cured so it must be man­aged with in­sulin in­jec­tions.

Type 2 de­vel­ops when the in­sulin-pro­duc­ing cells in the body are un­able to pro­duce enough in­sulin, or when the in­sulin that is pro­duced does not work prop­erly (known as in­sulin resistance). It usu­ally ap­pears in peo­ple over the age of 40, but it’s be­com­ing more com­mon in chil­dren. It is linked to obe­sity and may be man­aged with life­style changes.

The third form is ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, which oc­curs when preg­nant women without a his­tory of di­a­betes de­velop a high blood-glu­cose level. It may pre­cede Type 2 di­a­betes.

It’s Type 2, which is mainly brought on by an un­healthy, in­ac­tive life­style, that is the big­gest prob­lem. “Type 2 di­a­betes is more preva­lent,” says UAE-based Dr Atul Aund­hekar, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer, iCARE Clin­ics. “In­di­vid­u­als who are over­weight, with a higher pro­por­tion of belly fat or ab­dom­i­nal obe­sity, are po­ten­tially more in­sulin re­sis­tant, as it trig­gers se­cre­tion of a group of hor­mones called adipokines, which may im­pair glu­cose tol­er­ance. In the UAE, this forms the ma­jor­ity of the cases due to rel­a­tively in­ac­tive life­styles and un­healthy diet pat­terns.”

A glance at the his­tory of di­a­betes and obe­sity shows how dra­mat­i­cally our life­styles are af­fect­ing our health. The term ‘di­a­besity’ first en­tered the pub­lic con­scious­ness in 2005, Di­a­betes is some­times called ‘the silent killer’ be­cause so many peo­ple fail to iden­tify the early symp­toms. The main symp­toms of di­a­betes com­mon to both Type 1 and 2 are: • Feel­ing very thirsty • Uri­nat­ing fre­quently, par­tic­u­larly at night • Feel­ing very tired • Weight loss and loss of mus­cle bulk

Other symp­toms of di­a­betes can in­clude blurred vi­sion, cramps and skin in­fec­tions.

If you’re wor­ried that you may have di­a­betes or be at risk, it’s im­por­tant to see a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional as soon as pos­si­ble and start mak­ing life­style changes to re­duce your risk. with the pub­li­ca­tion of the book Di­a­besity: The Obe­sity-Di­a­betes Epi­demic That Threat­ens Amer­ica – andWhatWeMust Do To Stop It by pae­di­atric en­docri­nol­o­gist Dr Francine Kauf­man.

In the book, she noted that the preva­lence of di­a­betes nearly dou­bled in the Amer­i­can adult pop­u­la­tion: to 8.7 per cent in 2002, from 4.9 per cent in 1990. She also wrote that in her first 15 years as a pae­di­atric en­docri­nol­o­gist, 1978 to 1993, “I never saw a young pa­tient with Type 2 di­a­betes. But then ev­ery­thing changed.”

In fact, things changed so much that the name of en­vi­ron­men­tally influenced di­a­betes – pre­vi­ously called ‘adult-on­set di­a­betes’ – had to be of­fi­cially changed in 1997 to Type 2 di­a­betes, to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing num­ber of chil­dren and teenagers de­vel­op­ing the dis­ease.

The rise in child­hood obe­sity in re­cent years means that the UAE, like many coun­tries, is wit­ness­ing in­creas­ing num­bers of ado­les­cents who have de­vel­oped di­a­betes or are at risk of

The symp­toms to watch out for

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