World Diabetes Day: Causes & Prevention of the Disease

Diabetes, as we all know is a silent killer. It is a debilitating chronic and progressive disease that can damage all organs of the body. But at the same time diabetes can also be cured if one maintains a healthy lifestyle.

All the food we eat is converted to glucose and distributed to cells through the blood. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which acts as a key to facilitating the absorption of glucose energy by the cells. However, when the insulin produced is insufficient, the glucose keeps circulating in the bloodstream, elevating the body’s blood sugar levels. High sugar levels can cause many other complications like heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, etc.

World Diabetes Day

We celebrate World Diabetes Day every year on November 14 but why do we celebrate the day. World Diabetes Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition.

This year’s World Diabetes Day is taking place at the end of a year which has been intensive in terms of global advocacy for diabetes. WHO and partners have used the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin to highlight the huge gap between the people who need access to insulin to control their diabetes, as well as essential technologies such as blood glucose meters and test strips, and those who actually have access.

In the lead-up to and on 14 November, WHO will highlight not only the challenges, but more importantly the solutions, to scaling-up access to medicines and care. 

India is the diabetes capital of the world, with the second-highest number of diabetics after China. As per a study released in July 2021, 12.3% of children (10-19 years) were found to be pre-diabetic/ diabetic in India. India has the highest young population in the world, which is vulnerable to type 2 diabetes, due to genetic predisposition, unhealthy lifestyle, fatty and sugar-rich diet and lack of physical activity, besides other risk factors. An unhealthy lifestyle is a modifiable risk factor and can be corrected.

Prevention of Diabetes

Diabetes can be classified as Type 1 or type 2 or it can even be gestational – occurring during pregnancy. Whatever the type, the earlier the condition is treated, the better it is for the individual. Along with medical treatment, Yoga, meditation and good lifestyle practices can be of invaluable help in the management of diabetes, and prevention of complications.

There are three golden rules that one should remember if you are a diabetic:

  1. Following the prescribed food protocol

One of the most common reasons of suffering from diabetes is the food habit. People mostly choose to consume junk foods, oily foods rather than to take healthy foods. Earlier, people used to eat more leafy vegetables and green vegetables but now-a-days, it seems that people do not eat green vegetables and healthy foods for which the number of diabetic patients increased day-by-day.

  • Regular Exercise

A diabetic patient should include regular exercise in their routine but due to the negligence they have to suffer and mostly depend on insulin and medicines. If one does regular exercise, diabetes could be brought under control rather than to go for insulin.

  • Yoga Practice

 Regular yoga practice can help reduce the level of sugar in the blood, lower blood pressure, keep a check on weight, and reduce the symptoms as well as slow down the rate of progress of diabetes. Most heartening is the news that it lessens the severity of further diabetic complications. Let’s see how.

a.      Stress is one of the major reasons for diabetes, as it is in most lifestyle diseases. It increases the secretion of glucagon hormones in the body, resulting in increased blood glucose levels. Consistent practice of yoga asanas (body postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises) and a few minutes of daily meditation can help reduce both physical as well as mental stress. This, in turn, reduces the glucagon hormones and can also help improve insulin action.

b.      The practice of yoga is also proven to reduce weight as well as control the tendency to gain weight, two factors particularly important to keep diabetes in check. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and Kapal Bhati Pranayama are two of the best ways to reduce excess weight.

c.    High blood pressure, or hypertension can worsen Diabetes. Yoga asanas such as Corpse Pose, Bridge Pose, Child Pose, and Yoga Nidra are all helpful in controlling hypertension.

Diabetes and Obesity:

Childhood obesity has become a cause of concern in the urban areas as more than 30% of private school children have obesity which is much higher than the Government school student which is about 11%. Childhood obesity is a threatening for adult diabetes and high cardio-vascular risk factor as they are the future of diabetic patient and heart disease and most of the mortality cases in adult are due to the cardio-vascular attack. Assam has about 12% of childhood obesity under the age of 5-7 years which is hereditary but most of the cases are found due to unhealthy lifestyle. Childhood obesity leads to high cholesterol which causes early heart disease in men and female have problems like irregular menstrual cycle.

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