Do you know that 49% of global diabetes cases are in India? While this is a high number, consider this: in 2017, a staggering 72 million new cases of diabetes were reported in India. With the New Year, it’s time to start monitoring your diet and exercise, to prevent type 2 diabetes. In order to win the war against this disease, you must find out what it is:
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas cannot produce the required amounts of insulin. Conversely, it occurs when your body cannot properly use the insulin for its benefits. Type 2 Diabetes is disease that occurs predominantly due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. This disease is one that can be prevented, though sadly, very few people try before it’s too late.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
The signs of diabetes are often quite subtle. They include:
- Feeling hungry all the time (Polyphagia)
- Increased thirst (Polydipsia)
- Increased urination (Polyuria)
- Delayed/Non-healing wound/ulcer
- Ants near Toilet
- Numb feet or pain in the feet
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
Why are So Many Indians Suffering From Diabetes?
A lack of awareness about diabetes is a huge reason why so many people fall prey to this disease. However, there are some other reasons why this disease is so widespread in India:
Bad Eating Habits:
Following bad eating habits can lead to the development of diabetes. The following are a few foods to avoid if you want to prevent this disease from occurring:
- Sugary foods
- Dried fruit: which is a popular Indian snack.
- Trans fat
- White bread, pasta, and rice
- Fried foods that can lead to obesity
As Indians, we love indulging in our meals and snacks to the point where most Indian mothers enquire about their children’s’ food habits more often than anything else! To celebrate, we open a box of sweets saturated with sugar. We eat dried fruits in the evenings as a light snack. We also eat lots of rice and white breads.
As the Indian middle class grows in terms of income, newer lifestyle choices are now deemed affordable instead of being viewed as occasional luxuries. Most people do not think twice before opening a beer can after work, going out for dinner and gobbling junk food, smoking or taking part in any other indulgent activity. No judgement here, of course. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your life. But if you do not do so in moderation, it can lead to many chronic health concerns, including diabetes.
Another lifestyle factor to consider is the fact that most working professionals are in their offices for a minimum of 12 hours. This leaves them with little to no time to exercise. A sedentary lifestyle encourages weight gain, which can slowly lead to diabetes.
Cultural norms, like linking weight gain with prosperity, can also a play a role in the increase in diabetes. This is because instead of being worried about their expanding waistlines, people feel complacent and do not bother making a change.
Of course, one cannot ignore genetic predisposition when discussing when so many people develop diabetes. If your parents or anyone else in your immediate family has diabetes or heart diseases, it can increase your risks of getting the same. Similarly, a family history of obesity can also play a large role.
Did you know that air pollution has recently been linked with diabetes? With some of the world’s most polluted cities being in India, it is understandable why cases of diabetes are on the rise in the country. Wearing an air pollution mask and keeping an air purifier at home can help you combat the effects of air pollution.
What can be Done to Avert the Diabetes Crisis?
Apart from generating more awareness about diabetes in India, people can take steps to safeguard their health, and the health of their loved ones. They can do so by:
- Watching what they eat: Healthy foods like vegetables and fruits, lean meats, and proteins can help you craft a diet that is good for you.
- Exercising more often (at least for 30 minutes per day): small changes like uses stairs instead of elevators while going to work can go a long way.
- Being aware of the diabetes signs and alerting a medical professional on spotting them.
- Losing weight: Just losing 15 kgs can reduce your risk of getting diabetes by a significant amount.
By being more aware of the kinds of foods you eat, you can protect your health for a very long time. Diabetes is a dangerous condition that is not reversible. However, you can prevent it. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels.