It’s World Diabetes Day 2022! What better time can there be to make it your mission to keep diabetes at bay? You should be able to enjoy life without worrying about your diabetes going out of control and keeping you away from the simple joys of life.
It’s interesting to see that when World Diabetes Day comes around each year, people flood each other with positive anti-diabetes messages and remind each other to enjoy the many sweet moments of life.
But as the year wears on, most people can’t seem to keep their discipline going, and all that good cheer wanes gradually into careless negligence of health. We want to take this opportunity to arm you with general information on diabetes and tips to help you persist with an anti-diabetes regimen throughout the year.
An important point to note is that diabetes can lead to heart ailments. Did you know that 60-80% of diabetes patients die from cardiovascular events? That’s why Making India HeartStrong is championing a pledge this year encouraging people to care for their diabetes and their hearts.
Follow our ideas for safeguarding against diabetes and heart ailments – and enjoy the sweetest aspects of a life of healthful freedom.
Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is an essential energy source for the cells that make up the muscles and tissues. It’s also the brain’s primary source of fuel. But if your body cannot handle the glucose levels well, it can lead to other consequences, including damage to a wide range of your body’s organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Too much glucose in your bloodstream needs a hormone called insulin (created by the pancreas), which controls and helps eliminate excess sugar. If your body either doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin, or it makes insulin but your cells don’t use it properly, blood glucose levels will rise and go out of control.
There are three types of diabetic conditions to worry about. According to the American Diabetes Association, Pre-Diabetes is a stage preceding full-blown diabetes, which can affect health – significantly damaging the nerves in the body. In the case of Type 1 Diabetes, largely caused by genetic factors, the body does not produce insulin. With Type 2 Diabetes, the body creates insulin but doesn’t use it properly. This diabetes type is also often the result of a poor lifestyle like eating unhealthy foods, not exercising, being obese, or allowing blood pressure to remain uncontrolled.
If you have inherited diabetic genes from your family, you must be cautious and check yourself early in life for any diabetes manifestation. You can keep diabetes under control or even delay or prevent its occurrence with a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes you start seeing a pattern of slowly emerging diabetes when you have symptoms like feeling more thirsty than usual, urinating often, feeling tired and weak, feeling irritable or having mood changes, having blurry vision, having slow-healing sores, or getting a lot of infections, such as gum and skin infections. According to Cleveland Clinic, when you have any of these signs, you should immediately check with your doctor to confirm if it points to diabetes onset.
Like any other disease, diabetes, if checked early, can be managed well with a combination of medicines, healthy eating, and regular safe exercise. But if you have a hereditary predisposition to diabetes, or you have an unhealthy lifestyle, and you neglect the early symptoms of diabetes, it can take a lot from you and your doctor to keep the disease under control.
People with diabetes and other illnesses, like obesity, hypertension, or cholesterol, need to be extra careful. All these illnesses – and hereditary factors – can have a multiplicative effect on the heart.
Most people don’t realize how closely diabetes and the heart are connected. That’s one of the reasons why doctors will always check diabetes patients to see if they also have any other illnesses, especially heart ailments.
When you take care of your diabetes, you also take care of your heart. That’s double the gain.
As we said earlier, the three main routes to controlling and managing diabetes are these:
This point cannot be emphasized strongly enough. It’s no use seeing a doctor and getting a prescription if the rigor of taking your medicines regularly (and on time) is not kept up.
Most importantly, check with your doctor well in advance about what you must do if you either forget to take medications on a particular day − or are traveling abroad and don’t know how to adjust the medication hours as you cross time zones.
If you feel discomfort or a change in your health condition after starting medications, let your doctor know. All it may require is an adjustment of the medication dosage by your doctor.
People with diabetes must avoid foods with high sugar or carbohydrate content because their bodies cannot process glucose well.
On the other hand, switching to a diet rich in proteins and fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, pulses, and whole grains can be excellent.
Instead of figuring it out yourself, get a trained dietician’s help to give you a meal plan suited to the type and severity of diabetes you have. Most importantly, adhere to the mealtimes correctly.
Avoid junk foods, eating out too often, snacking recklessly, or eating processed foods from cans and packs found at your supermarket. If you must snack, your dietician will give you healthy, diabetes-friendly alternatives to sugary bakes or snacks.
One of the best forms of exercise for diabetes management is daily walking. If you can get outdoors for at least half an hour each day, breathe in the fresh air, and walk at a brisk pace, you’ll do a great deal of benefit to your overall health.
Stress is also a factor to try and eliminate, especially if it’s adding to your hypertension or heart problems. So, yoga or pilates (done in moderation) are suitable for keeping the mind calm.
Always get your doctor’s okay before starting any exercise that you like. Over-vigorous exercise, now and then, is no substitute for regular moderate exercise.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) website, World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the IDF and the World Health Organization − as a response to a growing global concern about the fast-escalating health threat posed by diabetes.
World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14th November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.
The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is “Access to Diabetes Care”. The idea is to get good diabetes care to those who don’t have it – and to encourage those who have access to good diabetes care to use it to live fuller and happier lives.
This year we call on everybody to join us in taking our pledge:
Knowing how diabetes care and heart care go hand in hand, let’s make our pledge to be doubly aware and doubly prepared. Life is 2 good!