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Diabetes is a metabolic disease where you see high blood sugar or glucose levels. Around 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, and each year around 1.6 million deaths can be attributed to this condition. Over time, diabetes can seriously damage your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
The most common type of diabetes is type-2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes symptoms develop when your body doesn’t make sufficient insulin (the hormone responsible for moving glucose from your blood to your cells used for energy) or becomes resistant to insulin.
In people with type-1 diabetes (also called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes), the pancreas produces too little to no insulin.
Some women experience high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy. This is known as gestational diabetes.[Diabetes].World Health Organization.
In ayurveda, diabetes is known as “madhumeha”. It is classified as one of 20 urinary disorders (prameha). The main factors that contribute to this condition are:
Some diabetes risk factors can be controlled by the lifestyle choices you make. These are called modifiable diabetes risk factors. Those that you can’t change are non-modifiable diabetes risk factors.
The following risk factors for diabetes and prediabetes can’t be changed:
You can change certain factors that increase your risk for diabetes. By targeting these factors, you can take steps for diabetes prevention:
Now that we’ve looked at the modifiable diabetess risk factors, let’s take a look at the steps you can take for diabetes prevention:
Excess weight is one of the most important factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes symptoms. According to experts, being overweight can increase your risk of diabetes by 7 times, while those who are obese are at 20 to 40 times greater risk of developing diabetes than those who maintain a healthy weight. Losing 7 to 10% of your body weight is thought to reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes symptoms by half if you are overweight.
Adopting a healthy balanced calorie-reduced diet and engaging in physical activity can help you shed those extra pounds. Aim to lose 0.5 to 1 kilogram (1 to 2 pounds) a week rather than shedding a lot of weight very quickly.[Weight loss: 6 strategies for success].Mayo Clinic.
Having a healthy diet can significantly impact whether you develop type-2 diabetes symptoms. The American Heart Association suggests a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes, unsalted seeds and nuts, skinless poultry, and unsaturated fats.[Diabetes Risk Factors]. American Heart Association. According to ayurveda, including foods such as bitter gourd (karela), green leafy vegetables, garlic (rasona), turmeric (haridra), Indian blackberry (jammbu phala) etc. in your diet can be beneficial.Sharma, Ramavtar, Vinod Kumar Shahi, Shruti Khanduri, Arun Goyal, Suhas Chaudhary, Rakesh Kumar Rana, Richa Singhal, Narayanam Srikanth, and Kartar Singh Dhiman. “Effect of Ayurveda … Continue reading Four simple dietary changes can make your diet healthier.
Working your muscles harder and more frequently makes them better at using insulin and absorbing glucose. And you don’t need long sessions in the gym to achieve this. A brisk walk of half an hour every day can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 30%.[Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes].Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And if your workday consists of long periods sitting at a desk, take mini activity breaks in between – walk up to a colleague instead of sending an email, hold walking meetings, take the stairs in your office building.[Diabetes Risk Factors].American Heart Association.
Many of us spend our evenings flopped down on the couch with the television on. But this might be more harmful than we thought. Every couple of hours spent watching TV rather than doing something more active can increase your chance of getting diabetes by 20%. Why is this so? It could be because the amount of time you spend watching television is linked to your chances of being overweight. The fact that we often snack on unhealthy food while we watch TV might also have something to do with it.[Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes].Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Experts suggest that adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep in a day. If you have trouble sleeping, the following tips might help:
Both ayurveda and modern science suggest that excessive sleep can also raise your risk for diabetes. If you find that you regularly need long hours of sleep (say more than 8 to 9 hours) to feel rested, check if your sleep is disturbed due to an underlying problem such as sleep apnea (a breathing disorder where you have brief pauses in your breathing while you sleep), bruxism (where you grind your teeth during sleep) etc.[Oversleeping: Bad for Your Health?]. John Hopkins Medicine.
Smoking can impact your health adversely in a lot of ways, adding to your diabetes risk factors. If you are trying to quit smoking, here are a few tips that can help:
As our days become busier and more stressful, it can take a toll on our health. Here are a few tips to help you manage stress better:
|↑1||[Diabetes].World Health Organization.|
|↑2||Purkait, Pulakes, and Moumita Bhattacharya. “Prameha and its Ancient Ayurvedic Medicine in India.” GUIDELINES FOR THE CONTRIBUTORS (2012): 638.|
|↑3||Madhumeha (Diabetes mellitus)_mtl “Madhumeha (Diabetes mellitus)). National Health Portal.|
|↑4, ↑5, ↑10||[diabetes risk factors].The British Diabetic Association.|
|↑6, ↑9, ↑16||[Diabetes Risk Factors].American Heart Association.|
|↑7||[diabetes risk factors](.The British Diabetic Association.|
|↑8||[stress and diabetes].The British Diabetic Association.|
|↑11||[Weight loss: 6 strategies for success].Mayo Clinic.|
|↑12||[Diabetes Risk Factors]. American Heart Association.|
|↑13||Sharma, Ramavtar, Vinod Kumar Shahi, Shruti Khanduri, Arun Goyal, Suhas Chaudhary, Rakesh Kumar Rana, Richa Singhal, Narayanam Srikanth, and Kartar Singh Dhiman. “Effect of Ayurveda intervention, lifestyle modification and Yoga in prediabetic and type 2 diabetes under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)–AYUSH integration project.” Ayu 40, no. 1 (2019): 8.|
|↑14, ↑15, ↑17||[Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes].Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑18||[Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep]. Mayo Clinic.|
|↑19||[Oversleeping: Bad for Your Health?]. John Hopkins Medicine.|
|↑20||[Quitting smoking: 10 ways to resist tobacco cravings]. Mayo Clinic.|
|↑22||[Best ways to manage stress]. Harvard Health Publishing.|
Dr. Manjula has 12 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda and worked as a Consultant and General Physician for over 5 years before starting her private practice. In addition to BAMS, she also has an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Research and is trained in Panchkarma. She is an expert at diagnosis of the root cause and planning effective treatment for multiple issues.
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