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Over the last few decades, an increasing number of Indians have fallen prey to the perils of diabetes. The disease affects 7.42 crore adults and accounts for 6.48 lakh deaths in the country each year. This high prevalence can be attributed to a mix of genetic, physiological, behavioral or environmental factors. However, the onset of the pandemic further resulted in an increase in the number of people becoming prone to the disease. This has brought increased attention towards diabetes management.
As per the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a notable increase in the number of adults suffering from obesity, high blood sugar and hypertension was witnessed. The survey revealed that 15.6 percent of men and 13.5 percent of women surveyed across the country were found to have high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes can be a major risk-factor for cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack and heart failure), the leading cause of premature deaths in the country. A person with diabetes is also at a higher risk of complications affecting the liver, kidney, eye, foot, gut, brain and
practically every part of the body, as it can damage the blood-vessels and nerves.
It is essential to understand that diabetes management requires a sustained commitment to healthy living, consistent motivation, and continued perseverance. One can keep diabetes in check by adopting the below measures, popularly known as the ABCDE rule:
A: A1c control (Hemoglobin A1c is an indicator of blood sugar levels)
B: Blood pressure control
C: Cholesterol control
D: Diet control
While living with diabetes, it is common to feel overwhelmed and stick to these measures overtime.
Regular health check-ups are crucial for diabetes patients. Monitoring of blood pressure, blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels, etc. at regular intervals is essential as it can help your doctor monitor your progress, understand how the body is responding to specific treatments or medications and alter the treatment plan as and when needed. Moreover, with easier access to self-care, consistent tracking of blood-pressure and blood-glucose levels through home-based monitoring can also be helpful. This practice can not only help assess the risk of new complications, but also help patients remain motivated and proactive in their journey.
Ensuring a nutritious diet is an integral aspect of maintaining blood glucose levels. Patients must:
* Consume fiber-rich foods like green vegetables, cucumbers, and carrots
* Limit the consumption of table salt and sugar
* Avoid packaged foods, fried food, sugary drinks and aerated beverages
* Oils containing unsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids must be consumed, like mustard or sunflower oil
* Consume brown rice instead of white rice
* Restrict alcohol consumption, red meat, and tobacco
Lack of physical activity is one of the major factors which can increase the risk of diabetes. In order to manage a metabolic condition like diabetes, sufficient physical activity and exercise are critical in ensuring good health. It is highly recommended that patients with diabetes undertake daily physical
activity for at least 60 minutes. This could include:
* 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity
* 10-15 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercise
* At least 45 minutes of brisk walk
While staying physically active is imperative, one must avoid sudden commencement or increase in physical activity, or high-intensity exercises. Decisions regarding the appropriate exercise regimen must be taken in consultation with the doctor as each patient has unique health priorities.
Good diabetes care is not solely about maintaining a special diet, following a specific workout regime or just taking medication. Optimal diabetes care is a sum total of all these measures sustained in the long run. A holistic approach to diabetes care includes addressing the risk of complications, adopting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle and undergoing regular health check-ups.