Diabetes is not Sweet at all

Posted by Sathya Narayanan on Wed, Apr 26, 2017  
No of Views(3334)

I was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago. I was just 9 years old. I cannot play with my classmates like others. My mother all the time tells me what to eat, don’t eat, taking my medicines, checking blood sugar and all that. Diabetes is really bad thing. I am sick and tired of the hospitals, waiting long hours for appointments or at the pharmacy. My blood sugar levels are always high. Dad says it is bad for me. I'm going for a checkup tomorrow. I am more scared than my Maths exam….this heart rendering firsthand account of a girl in Besant nagar, Chennai. She wishes to remain anonymous.  


Dr. Sanjay Joseph, Senior Consultant- Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolic Disorders said, “Unfortunately diabetes is a lifelong disease. It calls for an immediate restriction of sweet stuffs, juices and carbohydrates such as rice, white bread in the diet. An individual must take medicines lifelong and must monitor blood sugar levels regularly.”   


What is diabetes?


If you have diabetes, your body's system of making energy from food goes awry. Normally your body breaks food down into glucose. The hormone insulin helps your body use the glucose.


  • With Type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin-making cells. There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.
  • However Type 2 diabetes is preventable. Here the body produces insulin but does not know how to use it properly. Diabetes is such a serious ailment where the body has lost its natural intelligence to digest food and distribute energy to the body cells


Watch out for these symptoms


You can have Type 2 diabetes for years and not know! The symptoms show up late until a patient suffers from vision loss, or kidney disease, or erectile dysfunction. It is important to rush to a doctor and check of sugar levels in the blood if you feel: 


  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Needing to urinate often
  • Feeling tired
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Having sores that don't heal well


New figures from International Diabetes Federation ranks India at the top on this disease. About 63 million Indians are living with diabetes, those condemned of do’s and don’ts when it comes to eating. A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits are cited as the main causes of Type 2 diabetes. Risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke are up to six times higher in people with diabetes.

Traditionally, type 2 diabetes is referred to as adult-onset diabetes. However, in recent years diabetes has reached epidemic levels with children as young as seven years developing diabetes. Her Excellency, Dr. Maha Taysir Barakat, the Director General,  of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) called for a steadfast promotion of a healthy diet and a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day. This has shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes up to 58 per cent.


Organize your life


It is possible to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. These steps can help:


  • Make exercise a habit
  • Maintain a healthy diet by focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less fatty, sugary, and salty foods
  • Know your family's diabetes history, and discuss it with your doctor
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly


Dr. Sanjay Joseph added,” A diabetic can practice sports provided the patient checks his/her sugar levels before exerting oneself on the ground of play. Strenuous sports reduce sugar in the blood and so it is advisable to check once again after play.”


Being diabetic should not be a handicap or a limiting factor to reach the pinnacle of success in any domain. We can take inspirations from celebrities who manage their diabetes: Tom Hanks the famous Hollywood actor of “Forest Gump” and “Philadelphia” fame, Billie Jean King the famous women Wimbledon champion in the sixties and seventies, the CNN anchor Larry King and nearer home Wasim Akram the Pakistan Fast bowling legend.


Wasim Akram, role model


Says Wasim Akram on how he handles his diabetes, “I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997. I was only 29 years old. I thought my life was gone — no more cricket.”


“In Urdu-Hindi we say ‘kam khao to zindagi lambi jayegi’ (eat less and you’ll live longer). I’ll have half a roti. I’ll have a chicken tikka but I’ll have a massive bowl of salad. And then I check my sugar levels. I love my steaks, but I just eat less, at home or otherwise. Before lunch I eat a bowl of stir fried vegetables so my stomach is more or less full. Exercise for diabetics is most essential. I’ve been running around these last ten years day in and day out, exercising everyday twice a day. If it’s (sugar level) a bit high after dinner, then I go for a half-hour walk and when I come back and check, I see it’s gone down. It’s as simple as that. “


Any person from any walk of life can contract diabetes. But the true champion is one who manages diabetes with daily discipline and regular habits.


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