Diabetes, like high blood pressure or cholesterol, may not be a disease itself, but it leads to chronic and fatal diseases.
What is more alarming is how common it has become.
Diabetes affects 388 million people worldwide. By 2035, this number is expected to become 592 million. Plus, some 175 million people have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. India, known as the diabetes capital of the world, has over 62 million confirmed diabetes patients. Only China has more.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong health concern. You are a confirmed diabetic if your blood glucose levels are too high for the body to control it.
But the good news is:
You can manage and control it with the help of proper food, medicine, monitoring, exercise, and knowledge.
First, let us look at the reasons why diabetes happens. There are 2 main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2, the latter making up 90% of cases. The type of diabetes depends on some root causes. Other rarer types of diabetes also exist and we will look at them briefly as well.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
The hormone, insulin is regularly made and released by the pancreas into your bloodstream. But if you suffer from Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas cannot make any insulin at all. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In other words, type 1 diabetes happens when your immune system kills the pancreatic cells or the insulin-making beta cells. This can also happen due to a physical injury to the pancreas when it is also known as secondary diabetes. Damaged beta cells will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, quickly bringing about juvenile diabetes.
Who Gets Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is not treatable.
Only about 5% of diabetics have it. It is more common in white populations than in Africans and Asians. It is seen equally in men and women. It usually starts in young people below age 20, although it can happen to anyone.
There are some consequences of juvenile diabetes:
- Dehydration: Because the body excretes more water through urine.
- Weight Loss: Because urine contains excess glucose which the body cannot use.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): For energy, the body has to resort to breaking down fats. The bi-products are acidic chemicals known as ketones which accumulate in the liver and are unhealthy. Combination of high blood glucose, dehydration and acid build up is also known as ketoacidosis.
- Damage to your body: Untreated diabetes ultimately will lead to life-threatening diseases like kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. It also causes nerve and eye damage, such as glaucoma and even blindness.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a bit different. It is not autoimmune but a progressive disease, often aggravated by lifestyle and genetic factors. About 95% of diabetes patients are type 2. It is far more common in people with an Indian, South East Asian, African, and Hispanic ancestry.
In type 2 diabetes the insulin your body makes either can’t work effectively, or you can’t produce enough of it, leading to a condition known as insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes involves problems getting enough glucose into the cells. When the sugar can’t get inside the cells of the body, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. If left untreated, high blood sugar levels will eventually lead to more serious complications. The common ones are kidney disease, nerve damage, eye damage, heart disease, hardening of the arteries, even heart attack and stroke.
Type 2 diabetics develop insulin resistance. Insulin helps carry the glucose and convert it into energy in the cells for use. This is why if insulin is low there is an elevation of blood glucose levels. But it can take years! Your body gradually and unknowingly grows resistant to insulin which causes the pancreas to make even more insulin to move excess sugar into the cells. Because it happens slowly, and there are no obvious signs, type 2 diabetes is considered to be a “silent killer”.
When it fails, your doctor will confirm, “your body has developed insulin resistance”. If untreated, this can lead to type 2 diabetes. Over time, the pancreas eventually “wears out” and is unable to make new insulin and you will need to inject it into the bloodstream to treat diabetes.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes: Similarities and Differences
In both types of diabetes, glucose cannot get into your cells in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it builds up in the blood, and when sugar levels are high, it leads to more complications.
To begin with, high blood sugar levels lead to the same diabetes symptoms in both type 1 and type 2. If not managed properly and early on, you will make frequent bathroom visits.
In other words:
You pee more than usual.
You will also become incredibly thirsty, and feel exhausted all the time, for no reason. You may also lose weight, get minor infections and have wounds that are slow to heal.
Type 1 diabetes is far less common than type 2. Also, it is neither treatable nor progressive. It happens suddenly, almost overnight. Plus, there are age differences in the two types of diabetes. Type 1 prevails more in younger adults. In fact, type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile onset diabetes because it is typically diagnosed in children and teens. In the U.S., the peak age for type 1 diabetes is 14.
Type 1 diabetes can happen to anyone, but it is most common children and adults, below 40.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common. About 95% of diabetics fall in this group. Type 2 diabetes is also progressive. Insulin Resistance takes time to develop. Gradually your body cannot convert the glucose to energy to fuel your muscles and brain. Before the onset of full-blown type 2 diabetes, there is an early, treatable stage known as prediabetes. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes is can be prevented – naturally.
Type 2 diabetes normally happens to older adults, around age 40.
Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
Doctors agree that genes, race and ethnicity play a significant role in diabetes. White people get type 1 more than others is a proven fact. Type 1 is not like type 2, where even if both your parents and even grandparents were diabetics, you can still effectively control blood sugar levels with the right diet and exercise.
When your body is attacked by a virus, it can control your immune system so that it attacks your pancreas. Auto-antibodies attack the body in most type 1 diabetes cases.
Other AIs can trigger type 1 diabetes as well. For example, someone who suffers from Grave’s disease and Vitiligo (both autoimmune diseases) can set off type 1 too.
Unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise all add up to making you more susceptible to getting any type of diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes happens gradually and prediabetes is when blood glucose results fall in the range:
- A1C: 5.7% to 6.4%
- Fasting: 100 – 125 mg/dl
In the early stages of type 2 diabetes, there are no obvious signs. There are high amounts of glucose in the urine. There is an increase in urine output (frequent urination) and this leads to dehydration and thirst.
Prediabetics drink much more water than normal. Look out for the following symptoms of prediabetes or changes in your health.
- Frequent Urination: The first symptoms of untreated diabetes are related to higher than normal blood sugar levels and the loss of glucose in the urine. This causes more urine output (frequent urination) and dehydration.
- Increased Thirst: Diabetes causes dehydration, so you feel like drinking more water than usual.
- Weight Loss: Loss of weight can happen due to a relative deficiency in insulin, despite an increase in appetite.
- Vision Problems: Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can lead to blurred vision.
- Fatigue: Prediabetics also complain of exhaustion without any apparent reason. Very high blood sugar levels can lead to lethargy and even coma.
Other signs of Prediabetes
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Frequent infections (in the bladder, skin, and vaginal area).
- Extremely elevated blood sugar levels can lead to lethargy and coma.
Is there a treatment for prediabetes?
Prediabetes is preventable and it occurs before the onset of confirmed type 2 diabetes.
The best way to treat elevated blood sugar levels at the prediabetes stage is by making lifestyle changes. Usually, this is achieved by eating right, exercising, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol.
Testing at this stage is even more crucial than after becoming a full-blown diabetic. It is best to detect the early symptoms of untreated diabetes using:
- Blood tests for elevated blood sugar levels.
- Urine tests for glucose in the urine.
See below: How to treat diabetes naturally
Read more about how to combat prediabetes.
Book pathological lab testing services every 6 -12 months.
Alternatively, check your blood sugar with a home BGM health device.
How do I know for sure if I have diabetes?
Are blood test results enough?
The early signs of diabetes are subtle and sometimes absent. This is why many people are unaware that they have diabetes. Without undergoing blood glucose testing you and your doctor cannot be sure if you have diabetes or prediabetes. See your doctor if you are concerned, have a family history or are at risk because of your lifestyle choices.
How is Diabetes Diagnosed?
Your doctor may suspect you are diabetic if your test results show high levels of blood sugar in your urine. He or she may also suspect you have diabetes if you have certain risk factors (like lifestyle and genetics).
Diabetes is diagnosed with three successive tests. Your doctor will repeat a blood sugar test and urine test three times, if they are high, to be absolutely certain before prescribing medication.
Only then will the doctor confirm the diagnosis that you are diabetic.
Diabetes tests include:
- Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test: This simple blood test gives your average blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months. An A1C level of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests suggests you have diabetes. 5.7 to 6.4% means you may have prediabetes. Normal levels are below 5.7 per cent.
- Fasting glucose test: Taken the morning after fasting for 10-12 hours). Readings below 126 mg/dL are safe. If your blood report shows 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, it means you have diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: Done every 30 to 60 minutes for up to 3 hours after consuming a glucose infused drink. If your glucose level is 200 mg/dL or higher at 2 hours, then you might have diabetes or prediabetes.
- Zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8Ab) test: This blood test helps doctors confirm type 1 diabetes instead of another type.
- Random glucose test: Irrespective of your meal times, a random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes. If the other tests and symptoms (frequent urination and extreme thirst) also confirm the same diagnosis, you have diabetes.
- Urine tests: Blood tests are the most reliable for diabetes. But doctors also look for sugar eliminated by the body for screening reasons. Urine tests for diabetes normally check for protein, glucose, and ketones.
After the diagnosis
A1C levels should be checked 2 to 4 times annually. The target A1C varies slightly with age and other factors. But most people’s target is below 7 per cent. If you are still in doubt:
Ask a diabetes specialist (endocrinologist) for expert advice on what your HbA1c target is.
This test will pinpoint if you have diabetes more accurately than blood tests taken daily. High HbA1c could mean you need to change your dose, medication, meal plan or activity level, or a combination of them.
Note: Doctors take both blood and urine samples to check cholesterol, thyroid, liver and kidney profiles. He will also check your blood pressure, and may ask for an eye and foot exam as well.
From the various tests, done over the course of time, your doctor will evaluate your results and conclude you have one of the following:
- Impaired glucose tolerance (Prediabetes)
- Normal response
- Gestational diabetes
Is there a doctor for treating diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that you cannot treat yourself for. Your doctor should decide on the best diabetes treatment plan for you. In some cases, there is a need for a team of experts, such as:
- a foot doctor,
- a nutritionist,
- an eye doctor,
- an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist.
Some people with type 2 are able to successfully control high blood sugar by diet and exercise. This is particularly effective for people who are in the prediabetes stage. Other diabetes patients depend on medication – oral drug or insulin therapy or both. Taking pills is still the most common diabetes treatment, worldwide. Here’s a list of diabetes treatments:
- Medicine: Prescription drugs, insulin therapy and Ayurveda.
- Stem cell therapy: This is still undergoing research.
- Weight loss surgery: It is a proven diabetes treatment.
- Naturally: With proper fitness, diet, and monitoring.
- Other lifestyle changes: Supplements, stress, smoking and drinking.
How do diabetes drugs work?
Today, there are nine approved drug classes of oral medication for type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes drugs work differently.
If you have type-1 diabetes, your pancreas has stopped making insulin which is why your body is using blood sugar for energy. There are at least five types of injectable insulin drugs. Learning to give yourself insulin injections is a lot easier and safer than people think.
Today, insulin therapy is sometimes done by using a computerised insulin pump. You and your doctor can set up the pump and program it to deliver a fixed volume of insulin throughout the day.
There are different drugs for treating the various causes of type 1 diabetes. They work in different ways to lower blood glucose levels.
Diabetes drugs can:
- Increase insulin production by the pancreas.
- Decrease sugar absorption by the intestines.
- Improve how the body uses insulin.
- Decrease sugar made in the liver and improve insulin resistance (Metformin).
- Increase insulin production by the pancreas or reduce sugar production in the liver.
- Block re-absorption of glucose by the kidneys/ Increase glucose excretions in urine.
- Lower blood sugar after meals in diabetics who need insulin injections (synthetic hormones)
Some type 1 diabetes drugs contain multiple diabetes medications. They can block the re-absorption of sugar into the kidneys while increasing hormones that make the pancreas make more insulin and the liver make less glucose.
Stem Cell Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes
Stem cell therapy has been gaining more and more popularity worldwide. Studies suggest these cells are useful for treating chronic diseases like diabetes. Researchers and medical practitioners have successfully used the therapy to treat their patients.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are special cells capable of repairing damaged tissue and organs. Stem cell therapy involves injecting these cells as tissue transplants to heal some injuries and treat a few diseases.
Health clinics are promoting and using stem cell therapies for conditions, including joint injuries, torn tendons, arthritis, paralysis, diabetes, lupus, stroke, COPD, and sexual dysfunction.
There’s just one problem:
Numerous complications rule out the therapy to be a simple treatment. You see, not all stem cells are equal. Adult stem cells can be implanted only into the same organ tissue. Stems cells sourced from a liver can grow into liver cells only, etc.
Plus, it is costly.
Health insurance companies rarely cover the huge cost, which can go beyond 5 lac rupees.
Researchers found stem cells can regenerate the lost beta cells in the pancreas of people with diabetes. Basically, stem cell treatment involves healthy islet cell transplants from a donor pancreas to the diabetes patient. After this, new beta cells in the healthy pancreatic islets can make insulin to control and normalise blood sugar levels.
Also, it is a long procedure!
Step 1: Qualification for Stem Cell Treatment
First, specialist doctors will make a detail medical assessment to check the eligibility of the patient for stem cell therapy. This includes a routine blood test, urine analysis, oral glucose tolerance test among the others.
Doctors conduct preoperative assessment like evaluating the medical history followed by counselling session. After successful completion of the assessments, a patient can be declared fit for stem cell therapy.
Step 2: Source of Extraction
The next step is for doctors to decide the best source of stem cell for the patient.
Sources of the stem cell for diabetes treatment include bone marrow, adipose tissue and embryo tissue. In some cases, doctors extract cells from multiple sources. Once the source is finalized, stem cells are collected and are sent to labs for processing.
Step 3: Laboratory Processing
The extracted samples are sent to a government-approved cGMP lab for processing, where the samples are enriched with the pure population of stem cell culture. Then they are tested for quality, purity and viability and certified by an Internationally Accredited Lab.
Step 4: Stem Cell Implantation
After the stem cells are enriched and ready to be injected back into the patient’s body, they are implanted by an intravenous or intra-arterial injection method.
Step 5: Post Treatment Care
Patients have to visit the doctor for an extended period. They also go for rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy and counselling to be healthy physically and mentally.
Who should consider stem cell diabetes treatment?
Researchers have found stem cell therapy to be more effective for type 1 diabetes because when the pancreas no longer can produce the hormone insulin which controls glucose metabolism.
Type 1 is early onset diabetes, and it is an autoimmune condition. The body destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells. Stem cells allow the growth of new cells to replace the lost ones. Although more studies are required, many researchers are optimistic that stem cell treatment for type 2 diabetes will also work someday.
Can stem cells cure or reverse diabetes?
There is no permanent cure for diabetes.
Stems cell therapy coupled with insulin treatment can reverse diabetes to some extent. But it is not a simple treatment and not accessible to everyone. Plus, it is expensive and needs a team of doctors to closely monitor patients taking multiple treatments.
But there is a silver lining:
Stem cell research has heralded newer horizons in medical science, giving hope to millions of people globally. It has grown leaps and bounds during the past decade. A large number of patients have already benefited and are enjoying their regular lives after getting the therapy.
And the best is yet to come!
Scientists and doctors are working hard to find more and more potential sources of stem cells to treat various chronic and fatal diseases. More and more people are gaining awareness about new stem cell treatments.
Subscribe to our science-backed research articles and read recent breakthroughs.
Is stem cell therapy safe?
Stem cell treatments are more widely accepted for medical treatments for some blood disorders, such as leukaemia, some types of anaemia, and burn victims. Unless there is more scientific research to show stem cells can effectively and safely treat your specific health condition, it is better to take alternative diabetes treatments which are proven.
How to Treat Diabetes Naturally
By now, you are probably asking:
Are there any diabetes treatments without medicine or insulin therapy?
People with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, can try simple home remedies and make lifestyle changes to slash elevated blood sugar.
Normalise your blood glucose level, delay or prevent serious complications and reduce your dependence on medicines and/ insulin therapy.
We recommend a combination of the following for type 2 diabetes management:
- Eat Right
- Sports & Fitness
- Blood Sugar Monitoring
- Medicine & Treatment
- Ongoing Education
Remove the wrong foods, such as white bread, alcohol, cow’s milk, and genetically modified /GMO food. Also eat fewer animal products, refined carbohydrates, and sweets.
Contrary to popular notion, there is no specific diabetes diet. But it is important to eat right, focus on high-fibre, low-fat food groups, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A low carb diet is considered to benefit diabetics, but do not omit healthy carbohydrates found in most vegetables, brown rice, flaxseed flour, and gluten-free foods.
Which foods are healthy for diabetics?
- Karela or bitter gourd and karela juice.
- Jamun or Indian blackberries or black plums.
- Cinnamon powder or raw cinnamon.
- Aloe Vera juice or plant gel.
- Vitamin C rich foods like amla, grapefruit, oranges, broccoli, blueberries, etc.
- Foods free from Gluten, Sugar, Dairy, and GMO.
What superfoods are good for diabetes?
- Omega 3s rich foods, especially fresh wild salmon, tuna. And do not forget about nuts and seeds.
- Legumes like fibre rich beans.
- Non-starchy Vegetables like, dark, leafy greens, green beans and bell peppers.
- Plain Yoghurt like low-fat, or non-fat Greek yoghurt. Plus good gut bacteria from other probiotics.
- Berries like blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are antioxidant-packed.
- Whole Grains are complex carbs that are high in fibre and nutrients.
Just by walking 30 minutes daily, you can reduce blood sugar levels tremendously.
If you are obese, begin an exercise routine slowly. Join an aerobics or dance class like Zumba; it will significantly help reduce weight and blood glucose levels. Swim or play a sport you enjoy. Get fit by joining a gym or yoga class to keep the excess weight off and stabilise your sugar levels. Or, create a home gym if you have an empty room.
Here are 5 Best Exercises for Diabetes
There are many fitness and diet tips for diabetes patients, but sticking to them is what is important. Pick a type of exercise that you enjoy doing and will benefit your health. We recommend:
- Yoga and Meditation
- Tai Chi
Before you start a new workout:
Always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine or workout to make sure it will benefit your type of diabetes. Discuss it with a fitness trainer if you have joined a gym.
Remember, a slow and steady beginning beats quick fluctuations in sugar levels, especially if you are not used to it.
Yoga for Diabetes
Yoga is as ancient as the Indian culture! Doing yoga dates back over 5,000 years ago. Indians believe it is the best way to delay the onset of diseases, naturally. So comes as no surprise that yoga is also a wonderful diabetes exercise.
But now the world has gone yoga mad! Because:
Yoga heals inside out.
The western world is turning toward nature to solve health, fitness and beauty problems. It is a holistic approach to silencing the mind, clearing the clutter in the head, and returning balance within. Yoga is the most inexpensive way to soothe, relax and energise and cure the body, mind and soul of decay and disease.
Can meditation help?
Ancient Indians believe that starting the day by meditating is the way to eternal peace and good health. In India doing yoga is also about meditation, breathing exercises, pranayama, asanas (yoga poses) and, most importantly, gaining spiritual peace.
One Indian who has revolutionised yoga is Baba Ramdev, whose focus is on ridding and preventing chronic conditions and disease, including diabetes by practising yoga every day. His yoga exercises for diabetes are popular in India – the diabetes capital of the world. Ramdev yoga for diabetes involves different types of pranayama. These meditations can hugely help you de-stress and treat diabetes or prediabetes.
Begin by loudly chanting “OM” 11 times.
Then do the pranayamas given below. You can combine them if you wish. For example, do 1 and 2 on day 1 and then No. 2 and 3 on the next day. Yoga is a mind-body exercise, so do what makes you feel better.
- Bhastrika Pranayama
This seated yoga meditation, also known as Vajrasana, significantly improves digestion and strengthens the lower back.
Relax your body completely. Breathe in fully with both nostrils and exhale forcefully with both nostrils. Do this 10 to 15 times every morning, preferably at dawn, for about 30 minutes.
- Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapalbhati Pranayama is the easiest breathing exercise in yoga. Indians practise it in open spaces where there is fresh air, such as rooftops and parks. It can improve just about any breathing problem.
It improves overall health, naturally. It is considered by many to be the best pranayama for diabetic patients. Kapalbhati reduces stress, calms the mind and nerves. It helps people deal with daily tensions and work pressure, and even cures insomnia.
Seated in a cross-legged position, inhale slowly and deeply. Then exhale quickly and forcefully, making a sound. Repeat 10 times and then relax.
- Mandukasana Pranayama
This is one yoga pose to solve tummy troubles. It relieves constipation, improves digestion, and reduces belly fat. In fact, some experts advise doing this exercise after a heavy meal! It also increases the flexibility of your spine.
Seated in the Vajrasana position, make your fists come together near the naval, touching the abdomen. Then bend forward and try to touch the ground with your forehead. Go as far as possible without feeling too much pain. Stay in the pose for 20 seconds and come back up. Do it 3 times a week.
- Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Anulom-Vilom is another yoga breathing exercise to help control diabetes. Basically, it is alternate nasal breathing.
Close the right nostril and inhale with the left. Immediately after this, close your left nostril and exhale with the right one. Breathe deeply and slowly, repeatedly alternating the nostrils.
Yoga gurus advise that it is a good idea to learn about the mudras before doing the above pranayamas for diabetes. Yoga experts claim the energy created during pranayama transfers to the body through the mudras. For mudra, be seated cross-legged and touch the tips of your forefinger with your thumb while keeping the other fingers straight.
Besides pranayama, here are 10 more asanas for diabetes:
- Dhanurasana (bow pose)
- Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
- Padangusthansana (head to toe pose)
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
- Ardha-Matsyendrasana (spinal twist)
- Halasana (plough pose)
- Supta Vajrasana (sitting pose of firmness)
- Chakrasana (wheel pose)
- Shalabhasana (grasshopper pose)
[We shall discuss them in a separate article.]
Why is swimming a good exercise for diabetes?
- It stretches and relaxes your muscles.
- It does not put pressure on your joints.
- It improves cholesterol levels.
- It burns calories and reduces stress.
We recommend that you start with 10-minute swims thrice a week, slowly making longer swimming workouts. Carry a snack with you and monitor your blood glucose changes.
It is also a good idea to inform the swim instructor or lifeguard that you have diabetes before swimming.
Read more about the health benefits of swimming from our blog.
Exercise safety tips:
- Before starting, always check with your doctor if it is safe for your type of diabetes.
- Initially, you should monitor your blood sugar levels and check how much they sway before and after a workout.
- Exercising with high blood sugar can become life-threatening. Type 1 diabetics can go into ketoacidosis for 250 mg/dl or higher levels. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, before exercising, you must keep your blood sugar below 250 mg/dl.
- Try to listen to your body. If you experience shortness of breath, dizziness or light-headedness, stop exercising. Talk to your fitness instructor and doctor.
- Warm-up for 5 minutes both exercising and cool down 5 minutes after.
- Start slowly. If you are not used to much physical activity, do not overdo it.
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough water before, during and after exercise.
- Stay prepared. Eat a little candy or juice in case your sugar levels drop too low.
- Do not exercise in very hot or cold temperatures.
- Wear proper fitness apparel, especially comfortable shoes and socks.
- Be ready for any emergency. Always carry a cell phone or wear a medical band.
Check your blood sugar level and fluctuation as often as you like with a good quality health device for home use. They are so easy to use and convenient!
You can test yourself multiple times at any time. But the readings that are most important are fasting blood sugar, after your breakfast, within 2 hours of eating meals and random checks to track your progress. Also, make a note of any major changes in your diet and readings in a journal or diary. It will help you and your doctor diagnose your condition more easily.
Following the above steps will help normalise your blood glucose level, delay the onset of diabetes. It can prevent further complications by reducing your dependence on medicines and/ insulin therapy.
What about alternative medicine?
Did you know? There are some unique herbs and supplements have been successful in animal studies for diabetes. Although more human research is needed, the studies show promise with reasonably positive results. Alternative medicine was once the only treatment used by the ancient Indians and Chinese. But herbal supplements should not replace standard medical treatment for diabetes.
Here is a list of the best herbs, botanicals, vitamins and more which can delay and prevent diabetes.
- Green Tea
- Aloe Vera
- Bitter Melon
- Milk Thistle
- Holy Basil
- Bee Pollen
- Vitamin B1
Read more about how to control type 2 diabetes with herbs and supplements.
Why spot check blood sugar at home and at the gym?
Treatment for diabetes requires a close watch over your blood sugar levels. Apart from doctor-prescribed medication, exercise and diet, you also need to pay attention to when you eat and how much you eat.
Spot checks are how you avoid the “seesaw effect”.
It is normal for blood sugar levels to rise significantly after meals and exercise, but if it fluctuates too often and by too much, you may have to manage it better.
Try using portion control, adding/removing new foods, one at a time. It should stabilise naturally if you have type 2 or prediabetes. If it doesn’t work naturally, your doctor may need to change your diabetes medication dosage, even insulin.
Your doctor will test, diagnose and prescribe the best diabetes medication for your treatment. Every diabetes treatment plan is customised for the patient. It can be adjusted based on your diet and how much you exercise, as well as for times of stress and illness.
World Diabetes Day
Every year, on 14th of November, the International Diabetes Federation pays tribute to the widespread condition and raises more global awareness. In 2018 and 2019 the IDF campaign is all about The Family and Diabetes. The two-year timeframe is to allow for planning, development, promotion and participation.
What were some of the past campaigns about?
- World Diabetes Day 2017 theme: Women and Diabetes
- World Diabetes Day 2016 theme: Eyes on Diabetes
The theme for #WDD2018 is:
Diabetes Concerns Every Family.
All families are potentially affected by diabetes. The support of family and close friends has helped millions of diabetics manage the condition and be in better health. This is why the campaign wants to raise awareness of diabetes within every family and promote the role of the family in diabetes management, care, prevention and education of the condition.
What can be more humane than being cared for by your near and dear ones?
What are the world stats?
Worldwide, there are some 425 million people living with diabetes, 90% of them with type 2 diabetes. This number is expected to rise to 522 million people by 2030.
This is a huge rise from 108 million back in 1980.
Since then, the percentage of adults above 18 years of age with diabetes has doubled, globally. It is no longer a senior disease: 46% of type-2 diabetics in India are below 40 years of age.
In 2016 alone, 1.6 million people died directly from diabetes, and in 2012, there were 2.2 million deaths caused by high blood sugar. Currently, 1 in 2 people living with diabetes is undiagnosed. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to stop further complications, like heart disease and stroke.
Why educate families?
Diabetes education is the key to understanding how to detect it, treat it and monitor it.
Families lead similar lifestyles. And diabetes is mostly a lifestyle disease: 80% of type 2 is preventable. Families play a major part in controlling everyday risk factors, such as a healthy diet, daily treatment, regular monitoring, physical activity, and ongoing education.
The goal of World Diabetes Day 2018 and 2019 is to stop diabetes by spreading awareness and the importance of family support. It is important for parents, grandparents and the children in a family to know what the early signs and risk factors of diabetes are. If you are at high risk, then your spouse, parents, children, grandparents and extended family will also be at risk.
When someone in your circle of friends and family is diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, it is your love and support that matters. If the people you live with, work with, play with change their lifestyles to a healthier one, you will naturally stay healthy by following their example.
Diabetes treatments can also be costly.
Did you know:
3 out of 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries?
In some countries, insulin injections and daily monitoring alone consume half the family’s disposable income. The reality is, this ‘silent killer’ is also another ‘rich man’s disease’. Early detection becomes even more urgent for people living with diabetes from low and middle-income families.
What foods will lower blood sugar quickly?
What is the most common diabetes medication?
Is Ayurvedic medicine good for diabetes?
What about herbal supplements?