The choices we make daily– from food and workouts to the amount of time we spend in front of our laptop screens, everything affects our health in the short term and long term. One such condition that arises due to wrong lifestyle choices is diabetes. Did you know that India is called the diabetes capital? Well, not without reason! In December 2021, there were around 74.2 million diabetics in India. Diabetes is a lifestyle condition characterised by high blood sugar levels. Let’s better understand this disease and how best to prevent and manage it.
What is Diabetes?
Glucose is the primary energy source that we get from the food we eat. Insulin produced by the pancreas helps convert the glucose from food into energy in your body cells. But, when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or the insulin produced fails to keep your blood sugar levels under check, the condition is called diabetes. This condition is characterised by having excess glucose in the blood.
Diabetes is more common among people over 45 years, overweight, or who have a family history of the condition. Women who had diabetes or prediabetes during pregnancy are also more likely to develop diabetes eventually.
Causes and Types of Diabetes
Depending upon the cause, diabetes can be classified into three main types:
Type 1 Diabetes
Also called juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes usually affects younger people. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed that the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Though it can appear at any age, type 1 diabetes is usually detected in children and adolescents. People with this form of diabetes are required to take insulin every day.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes or diabetes mellitus) is the most common type of diabetes. Common risk factors that contribute to this condition are genetics, family history and lifestyle factors like obesity, smoking, unhealthy eating, and high blood pressure to name a few. Type 2 diabetes is usually found to occur in older individuals, but today, even young adults between 25 and 35 years are developing it.
This form of diabetes results from hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Though the exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, it occurs when the placental hormones make the woman’s body cells less resistant to insulin.
Gestational diabetes is more common in women who were overweight before getting pregnant or who gained excessive weight during their pregnancy. Though gestational diabetes resolves by itself after childbirth, these women have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Common Diabetes Symptoms to Watch Out For!
Did you know many people with diabetes are unaware of their condition? Diabetes is a common condition but can have serious complications when not treated in time. Some general signs and symptoms that you must watch out for and seek medical care immediately:
Increased hunger and thirst
Weight loss without trying
Wounds that take time to heal
Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction and reduced muscle strength in men
The symptoms for type 1 and type 2 diabetes are usually similar. People with type 2 diabetes may not show any signs or symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, it is recommended to undergo routine health check-ups to help diagnose any changes in your blood sugar levels.
Can Diabetes be Reversed?
We cannot cure diabetes. However, it can be effectively managed to ensure you live a healthy life. Eating a proper diet in the right proportions, working out regularly and taking your medications can help keep your sugar levels in check. Many people with borderline or prediabetes can make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes altogether.
Diabetes is a multifactorial disease that is easy to manage with small lifestyle changes. Since people with diabetes are at a high risk of developing other conditions like heart ailments, liver failure, kidney problems, it is essential to speak to your doctor about managing it. Ayurveda has been successful in the prevention and management of diabetes. Speak to our specialist for more about it here!