Youngsters are more prone to diabetes due to lifestyle changes: Tips to take control
Diabetes is known as a silent killer since its symptoms don’t manifest immediately. Due to the prevalence of more than 100 million cases, as per the data provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research, India was declared the diabetes capital of the world in 2022. The data says that one in 11 Indians is currently diabetic, while up to 131 million people in the country are pre-diabetic i.e. at an early stage of diabetes. The prevalence rate is also projected to increase, with one in nine people expected to become diabetic in the next five to six years.
According to Dr K Baraneedharan, senior consultant diabetologist at Kauvery Hospital Alwarpet in Chennai, younger people aged over 20 are now more prone to the chronic disease, due to early onset of risk factors. “We have to prevent it because it is like a time-bomb or a health tsunami of this century,” he says.
Kauvery Hospital has been conducting a diabetes awareness programme in Chennai every year with the aim of educating the community and preventing complications. It has launched a pilot project ‘Diabetes on Wheels’ to generate awareness about the disease. As part of the project, the team plans to visit 100 locations in 100 days.
“Every day, we will go to one location, we will screen and educate them. We will do the blood sugar test free of cost. If the sugar levels are high, we will ask them to come to Kauvery hospital for a consultation and the first visit is free,” says Dr Baraneedharan. He adds that earlier, insulin shots needed to be taken multiple times in a day but now there are injections that can be taken weekly. “Even though the burden of diabetes has increased, we have a lot of tools to manage the disease effectively and prevent complications such as heart problem, kidney problem, stroke etc,” says Dr Baraneedharan. A new class of drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors have also recently become available in India, and they can bring blood sugar levels under control and also prevent diabetes-related heart and kidney issues, he adds.
On that note, here are some tips to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease:
1. Avoid sedentary lifestyle - One should avoid sitting for too long and take frequent breaks every 30 minutes to stand or walk around.
2. Exercise regularly - Regular physical exercise may aid in preventing diabetes. Aerobic exercise and strength training can be incorporated into your daily routine. Aim for 150 minutes of physical exercise every week.
3. Reduce overall carb intake - All carb sources stimulate the release of insulin. Therefore, limit the intake of highly processed carbs and choose carbs that are high in fibre.
4. Avoid excess weight - Having excess weight can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Strive for a balanced diet with complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
5. Drink water as your main beverage - Sugary drinks like sweetened fruit juice and soda have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Hence, having water as your primary drink will help you curb the craving for beverages high in sugar.
6. Give up smoking - Smoking has been linked to Type 2 diabetes as per research. Studies suggest that if you quit smoking, it can minimise diabetes risk.
7. Maintain your Vitamin D levels - Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, according to studies. Hence, Vitamin D levels must be maintained at an optimum level so as to prevent diabetes.
8. Cut down on intake of highly processed foods - Highly processed foods contain unhealthy fats, added sugars, and other preservatives. Minimising intake of highly processed foods may help reduce your risk of diabetes.
This article is published in association with Kauvery Hospital.