Type-2 diabetes is strongly linked to unhealthy lifestyle marked by sedentary life and lack of regular exercise and over-indulgence with food. Certain behaviors like tobacco smoking and alcoholic drinks are major risk factors associated with the occurrence of type-2 diabetes and its complications.
Being a disease linked to our unhealthy lifestyle, it manifests in an age dependent manner after crossing some sort of a threshold damage to the body’s metabolism; this makes the disease more prevalent after the age of 45 and onwards. However, the type-2 diabetes can also occur in younger age groups.
Unhealthy lifestyles that are strongly linked to the occurrence of Type-2 diabetes are high consumption of saturated fat and sugar, lack of physical activity, overweight, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Genetic predisposition for the disease is also an important contributory factor is some patients.
The above factors are known to act as environmental factors which disturb the body’s metabolic machinery related to carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. As a result the obesity sets in and fat is deposited around the waist. The fat cells are known to have close association in promoting type-2 diabetes.
High blood sugar levels are produced when insulin is not secreted in appropriate quantity or there is resistance to insulin’s ability to convert glucose into energy in cells and into glycogen in the muscles and the liver.
In type-2 diabetes, the fat cells produce substances that inhibit insulin’s role to convert glucose into energy (or into glycogen in muscles and the liver) thus leading to high sugar levels in blood.
Prevention of diabetes:
A healthy lifestyle is the most basic requirement to prevent weight gain and obesity. The essence of healthy lifestyle is active life involving regular physical activity or exercise and a healthy and nutritious diet.
About 150-300 minutes moderate intensity physical activity, like walking or swimming, per week, is essential to prevent obesity.
The diet must follow a strict regime and it should balance calories taken and calories spent through work. The diet should be balanced by using healthy ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans etc. which are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, proteins and omega fatty acids.
Red meat should be substituted by lean meat, white meat or sea foods. High calorie foods like sweets, packaged snacks rich in salt and trans fat must be avoided to the maximum possible. Monitoring of weight at regular intervals helps regulate diet and exercise.
Symptoms of diabetes:
Those with a family history of diabetes should keep a watch on any signs and symptoms of the disease appearing after 40 years of age; however symptoms can also appear earlier in case of obese persons.
Increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing and obesity, especially accumulation of fat on waist, are some commonly observed symptoms of diabetes.
The disease commonly occurs along with hypertension which can aggravate the effects of diabetes and complicate the clinical outcome or consequences.
What patient can do to promote health:
Patient can stay healthy by following a strict regime of regular exercise and healthy and nutritious diet. A balance of work, leisure and proper eight hours sleep are the essence of a healthy lifestyle which should be followed.
At any cost, overindulgence with food must be avoided. Proper hydration of body by drinking plenty of water promotes health. Those with a tendency to weight gain must check their weight regularly and maintain their weight within the prescribed BMI index for their height.
Special diet issues:
Diet assumes the most important role in prevention and control of type-2 diabetes. The disease sets in due to increased fat deposited in parts of body and consequent increase in weight.
This trend needs to be reversed by regulating eating habits. The diet should essentially comprise healthy and nutritive elements like fiber, slow energy releasing carbohydrates, white meat (chicken and fish), omega fatty acids and vitamins and minerals.
In general, plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans are ideal diet for diabetics. Colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in anti-oxidants and omega fatty acid, are highly useful as these contents protect cells and tissues against damage and promote tissue repair.
Foods containing high sugar, salt content, high contents of saturated fat and trans fats are harmful and must be avoided. The diet should normally comprise two meals and 2-3 snacks in between.
Prevention of diabetes is a highly rewarding strategy, because the same strategy applies to other NCDs, such as cancer and hypertension.