Bitter Facts of ‘Sugar’ Disease

Currently there are over 400 million diabetics in the world affecting close to 69 million in India alone. This number may rise up to 140 million by 2024. Recently Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman Narayana Health in NH Dialogues had discussed the adverse effects, causes, symptoms and treatment methods for diabetic patients across the globe. Dr. Satish Kumar, Head of Endocrinology of Diabetes and Bariatric Medicine, at Narayana Health City and Dr. Prem Kumar Patidhar, Consultant Endocrinology at NH Jaipur joined Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health, in a 40 minute Q&A session.

Types of Diabetes
The session started by addressing simple questions about diabetes, their symptoms, causes and their existing prevalence. The two types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 also known as juvenile diabetes is found to occur predominantly among kids. This is due to the absence of insulin, a hormone that breaks down sugar or glucose into energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs in older people belonging to the 20-30 year mark.

Signs of Diabetes
Signs such as an increase in thirst, frequent urination, a constant feeling of tiredness, fungal infections that take too long to heal and a family history of diabetes are the common signs of this disease.

Factors Causing Diabetes
The doctors at Narayana Health mentioned that a patient’s diet and lifestyle play a vital role in preventing diabetes. Another leading factor is when they develop Acanthosis Nigricans- black lines behind the back of the neck. Apparently, around 50% of heart patients, who undergo cardiac bypass surgeries, are diabetic in nature. That is why patients who follow a well balanced diet, coupled with plenty full exercises, are at an advantage of leading a healthier life. The diabetic experts at Narayana Health advice patients to avoid sweets and food items, which all have a high value of sugar.

For type 1, insulin injections are mandatorily recommended while for type 2, it depends on the patient’s sugar level, age, genetic factors and lifestyle habits. An alternate option would either be the intake of oral medication or the use of an insulin pump. Dr. Prem mentioned that an excessive intake of alcohol can damage the pancreas and cause pancreatic diabetes. He also said it’s best to eat a satisfying meal after consuming alcohol, in order to avoid going into hypoglycemia.

This brings us to the topic most related to diabetes – hypoglycemia or hypo. Too much insulin or too little food can spark a hypo. Symptoms of hypo include sweating, hand tremors, anxiety, palpitations, headache, burring of vision, emotional liability and an increase in hunger. In order to get out of hypo, the patient is advised a small snack such as biscuits, fruit juice, and a glass of milk, fruit, cereal bar or light yoghurt can all help to stabilize and maintain blood glucose levels.
The webinar ended with the doctors strictly advising patients to exercise daily for at least 30-40 minutes and follow a strict healthy diet to live a happy and healthy diabetic life.

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