Lifestyle choices key to controlling diabetes - Experts

BY: Dr Uday Phadke - 24 Nov-2021

Pune: Lifestyle choice remains the key to controlling diabetes, we need to pay attention to the factors that affect blood sugar level, experts advised.

November 14 was  World Diabetes Day. The rapid rise in the number of diabetics is a cause for concern and requires multipronged efforts.

Our pancreas produces the hormone insulin, from which cells use the blood glucose as energy. In type 2 diabetes, these cells do not respond to insulin or become less sensitive. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin for the cells to respond, and blood sugar rises eventually.

Endocrinologist and Diabetologist at  Sahyadri Hospitals Dr Uday Phadke said,  If we are aware of early signs, we can detect diabetes at an early stage.  Symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, weight loss even with proper eating,  genital infections, slow healing sores, sexual dysfunction/ impotence. The fact also is that half of the people do not have any signs and symptoms until very high levels of blood sugars have been reached.

Then how should one know whether one has diabetes? Dr Uday Phadke opines that we should start screening program that identifies people without symptoms early, particularly those above the age of 30, more so who have family history of diabetes and who are obese, or other problems like blood pressure, cholesterol, women with PCOD. Such persons should get themselves checked even if there are no symptoms. Screening includes BSL FASTING AND POST-MEAL along with HBA1C in consultation with the doctor. In western countries, screening may be advised at a later age, but since India is a high-risk population as far as diabetes is concerned, screening should start early. Nowadays we find that a lot of younger people, also in teens, are grossly overweight. There are many on border line sugar levels. We should not wait for symptoms and screen them early.

Proper diet, exercise is a must, bring down your weight to an ideal level in consultation with the doctor.  Especially we all Indians have to be careful about central obesity which is harmful. Screening at the right time will avoid complications in the future.

Dr Uday Phadke added that considering the rapidly increasing number of diabetics with an already huge number, there is a need for a structured program at National Level.

Challenges for diabetics during pandemic

Dr. Uday Phadke said that having diabetes per se does not make a person more at risk to develop covid but if he develops covid the chances of complications and mortality are definitely more than in a non-diabetic. Also, we have seen that the covid virus can directly attach to the pancreatic Beta cells and can cause destruction there and therefore pre-existing diabetes can significantly worsen. Many patients who were not aware that they had diabetes before got detected during covid with very high sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes with covid can increase the risk of added infections especially serious ones like mucormycosis.

By - Dr Uday Phadke
       Endocrinologist and Diabetologist,
       Sahyadri Hospitals

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