‘Coffee with diabetologist’ is a unique initiative undertaken by Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon to raise awareness about diabetes and discuss preventive measures
Can you prevent onset of diabetes even if both your parents were diabetic, making you genetically susceptible to the insulin disorder? Can you acquire diabetes even if nobody in your family suffered from it? Can you keep diabetes under check by controlling your weight and diet?
These questions and many more were asked at a unique session to mark World Diabetes Day at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. The Coffee with Diabetologist was attended by 80 people including patients of diabetes, their family members and other curious people who wanted to know more about the disease and its prevention.
According to International Diabetes Foundation, India is home to more than 65 million people with diabetes, making it a disease of epidemic proportions being driven by factors such as rise in obesity and lack of physical exercise. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that puts a person under high threat of several serious health conditions including heart disease, kidney function failure, loss of vision as well as neuropathy and diabetic foot.
“People usually have a lot of questions regarding diabetes and there is a major lack of awareness in India about the condition. People hold strange myths and misconceptions. For example, some people tend to falsely believe that eating sweets causes diabetes or that diabetes is a condition that afflicts elderly people only. The session helped us clear the myths of many people and make them aware about the condition, its risk factors and prevention strategies,” said Dr. Vineet Surana , Consultant , Endocrinology and Diabetology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which the afflicted person has high blood glucose levels due to a disorder in the functioning of insulin – either the pancreas fail to produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body’s cells develop resistance to insulin (type 2 diabetes). It is the insulin that controls the level of blood sugar and keeps it from going too high or too low.
Some common symptoms related to high blood sugar consist of frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger. Diabetes if left untreated, can lead to serious complications such as chronic kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, foot ulcers and even blindness.
“Though genetic susceptibility is a major cause of diabetes, today there is a visible shift in increase in diabetes incidence due to lifestyle. Excessive weight and lack of physical activity are two major lifestyle factors that speed the onset of diabetes even in people who may not have a family history of the disorder. It is very important to keep weight under check and ensure at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity – walking, running, exercising. This can go a long way in reducing the burden of diabetes in India,” adds Dr Surana.
Rapid industrialization and urbanization are results of vast economic growth. However, they have also altered our lifestyles to a vast extent. Resultantly, a plethora of lifestyle related diseases have victimized Indians. Some risk factors are explained below:
• Sedentary lifestyle: Lazy and sedentary lifestyles have increased the chances of Type -2 diabetes amongst Indians. Haphazard working schedules, a dependence on motorized transport and reluctance to exercises have reduced physical activity across different age groups.
• Genetic predisposition to diabetes: People who have a family history of diabetics are more prone to diabetes as compared to people who have no family history
• Obesity and overweight: Obesity is considered to be a leading reason of Type II diabetes. Excessive body fat, especially within the abdomen, increases the risk of diabetes.
“The radically altered lifestyles of urban living have brought many people under the bracket of risk. Also, the average age of people reporting diabetes has also lowered a lot in this era. India is a country where a lot of young people across the country have fallen prey to this disease and it is necessary to undertake proper steps to address this problem,” says Eti Bhalla, Chief Dietician, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon
Within session, which was conducted from 10:20 to 12:00 pm, the doctor interacted at length with the audience and discussed controllable risk factors to control diabetes. Some major preventive measures are discussed below:
• Regular exercising can help lower weight, a person’s blood sugar and helps boost sensitivity to insulin in order to keep blood sugar within a normal range.
• Eat healthy food with essential nutrients and food rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds as they help in improving blood sugar control and helps in keeping weight in check.
• Visit your doctor from time to time if you witness symptoms of diabetes as discussed earlier. Overweight, blurred vision and frequent urination are some of the symptoms, which should act as warning signs.