Health can be re-defined as our ability to retain the immaculate healthy smile and charm commonlyseen in our childhood:
We can easily associateour childhood charm to our healthy body systems that is originally given as a gift by mother nature.But as we grow old, various factors contributes to deterioration of our happy outlook. Some of these factors are from external elements like environment, quality of foods and water, while the major factor is the unhealthy lifestyle choices made by man. Our everyday life style is changing drastically due to technological advancements. These changes include the choice of our foods, mode of transport, type of jobs that we do and how we spend our leisure time. All these changes contribute to the development of lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.
What are lifestyle diseases?
"Diseases related to the way a person or group of people lives".!
- A whopping 587 million people in the world are estimated to develop “Prediabetes”by 2045 (a condition which prevails in our body without any clear symptoms of diabetes). Prediabetes is a metabolic condition of elevated blood sugar levels which is not high enough to be categorized as diabetes. It occurs due to resistance to the hormone insulin and damage of pancreatic cells over time.
- Countries around the world are developing rapidly in terms of economy, technology and lifestyle, but this has also resulted in a more sedentary and stressful lifestyle. It looks like the society is manufacturing increasing amounts of robotic individuals who lead a life in lieu of any vision or passion. Our search for happiness leadsus towards the path of achievements and successes, while ignoring the conscious efforts for a healthy life.
- The causes of the increasing rate of prediabetes can be attributed to our shift to sedentary lifestyle, stress and obesity. Stilling our mind for peace, clarity and spiritual development is not a regular practice anymore.
- We can change ourselves and learn from the pain of the mistakes we make, or, we can prevent the mistake from happening altogether. Do not let the “pre” in prediabetes fool you around 70% of the prediabetic individuals develop diabetes in their lifetime. They are also likely to develop a more severe diabetes, along with a higher risk of nerve damage, heart disease, retinopathy, chronic kidney disease, stroke and all-cause mortality.
What is the role of “Insulin” in maintaining health in our body?
Insulin is a peptide hormone which helps in mobilization of glucose from blood circulation into the cells. It is secreted by pancreas in response to an increase in glucose level in blood after a meal.The capacity of pancreas to secrete enough insulin decrease when we get old and/or due to improper food habits rich in high carbohydrate content. When the pancreas is over burdened and stimulated in excess, we develop a condition called as “insulin resistance” over a period of time. Insulin resistance is the main cause for the initiation of “prediabetic” state of our health.
What causes our body to develop “Prediabetes”?
- The global burden of diabetes is expected to rise 642 million in 2040.
- National Urban Diabetes Survey - prevalence of prediabetes in India is 14% (18 Million approx.).
- People with prediabetes are three times the number of people with Type 2 Diabetes mellitus.
- Nearly all patients with T2DM pass through an extensive phase of prediabetes (average duration of nearly 10 years).
- ✓ 93% of Prediabetic do not know that they have a potential health problem.
Who is at the risk of developing “Prediabetes”?
Overweight Adults (BMI*=>23) who have one or more of the following symptoms:
- First degree relative with diabetes
- Women with gestational Diabetes mellitus & PCOS
- History of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- Hypertension & Physical inactivity
- HDL-Cholesterol < 35 mg/dL and or a triglyceride level > 250 mg/dL
- Conditions associated with insulin resistance (Severe obesity & acanthosis nigricans (skin disorder))
*How to calculate BMI?
- Body Mass Index = Kg/m2 (Where Kg = Person’s weight in Kg; m2= Person’s height in metres squared)
- It is applicable to adults aged 18-64 and a healthy BMI range is 18.5 – 24.9.
How to diagnose “Prediabetes”?
Prediabetes can be diagnosed by simple laboratory testing of blood sample for the following parameters:
- Fasting Blood Glucose
- Post Prandial Blood Glucose
- Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1C)
What are the advantages of early diagnosis of “Prediabetes”?
- More than 93% of people who have a “prediabetic” condition do not know that they are going to develop diabetes in their future.
- Early diagnosis, will really help save people from developing diabetes and its consequences.
- The global disease burden in terms of medications and other medical treatments can be reduced drastically.
- Quality of life of people can be improved significantly when they come to know what they need to do after diagnosis.
- Canadian Diabetic Association – Screen all individuals above 40 years of age with fasting Blood Glucose and HbA1C.
- US Diabetes Association – Screen all individuals above 45 years &high-risk individuals below 45 years with FBG, GTT and HbA1C.
Strategies to Reverse “Prediabetes” – Possible?
- Early Diagnosis - Voluntary Health Check up to monitor blood glucose, GTT & HbA1C based on age (40+) and BMI criteria (BMI above 23).
- Life style modifications – Including exercise and /or sports as part of day to day activity; Reduce screen time; Include Meditation & Yoga.
- Avoid smoking and have moderate alcohol (if required).
- Dietary modifications – Avoiding HFSS (High Fat Salt Sugar) Foods; Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fibre and selecting cereal diet with good glycemic index.
The major type of diabetes, type II diabetes is largely preventable by taking simple everyday practicesmentioned above.All it takes is to have a courageous restrain from unhealthy modern lifestyle practices and start adapting to our traditional “Good Lifestyle Practices” consciously. We need to spend quality time everyday to self analyse our physical fitness and food habits to improve our health. A healthy lifestyle along with nature can only protect us from becoming a victim of lifestyle diseases.