Yuval Noah Harari , the famous Israeli historian , comes to mind ,“In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000). In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide, and 1.5 million died of diabetes. Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.” This is a startling statement which underscores the grave problem Diabetes has become for the world in general.
The National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey 2019 in India has made some damning observations which merit a serious look where it says that the prevalence of Diabetes in India has stayed at 11.8% in the last 4 years. The report also states that prevalence of known diabetic cases was at 8% and the new diabetic cases was at 3.8%. The patients with known diabetic cases were at 67.3% and the new diabetic cases stood at 32.7%. In the last 4 years , 40% of the known diabetes cases were diagnosed while 5.3% cases were discovered in the past 1 year (period of study being 2014-2019). This presents a grim picture of the disease , which was once dismissed as a result of an indulgence in sugar and confined to the rich people , is now a major problem in developing countries as well. We discuss the important components of the malaise and the treatment & prevention of the same in the ensuing analysis.Let’s talk All About Diabetes
What is Diabetes ?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease represented by increased levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over a period of time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. It is a disease where your blood glucose is higher than desired. Blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy and is derived from the food one consumes. Insulin , a hormone secreted by the pancreas , facilitates the glucose acquired from the food to enter into the cells and provide energy. It often happens when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or use it at all and as a result of this , glucose remains in the blood and is not able to reach the cells. Modern medical science has no cure to offer for diabetes but this can be managed and kept under control by a variety of ways ranging from a control in diet , medications to exercising.
Types of Diabetes
There are 4 known types of diabetes in the world ,
- Type 1 diabetes : It is described as an autoimmune disease. The immune system is noticed to cause an attack and subsequently destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is produced. It has not yet been ascertained as to why such an attack occurs. Almost 10% of the people have this variant of diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes : It occurs when your body turns resistant to insulin and there is an accumulation of sugar in the blood.
- Pre-diabetes : It occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes : It is the spurt in blood sugar during pregnancy . The placenta produces insulin-inhibiting hormones which leads to this diabetes.
A namesake homonym of the disease and a rare sickness , called as Diabetes Insipidus , is not related to the aforementioned variants. It is a rare condition where the kidneys expel excess liquid from the body.
Causes of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
In Type 1 diabetes ,the body does not produce insulin. The immune system launches an attack on the cells in pancreas and destroys them , that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is generally seen in children and young adults, although it can happen at any age. People with Type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent every day to survive.
Type 2 diabetes
In Type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce or utilizes the insulin well. One can develop Type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood however, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-age groups and elderly. Type 2 is the most common variant of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is found in some ladies during their pregnancy. Most of the time, this type of diabetes disappears after the baby is born. There is a greater risk of developing the Type 2 variant if someone had suffered gestational diabetes later in their lives.
There is a deeper study which is still underway as researchers have not yet understood as to why some people develop this disease and others don’t. However , some of the most common risk factors alluded to this are as follows,
1.Weight : Individuals who have a lot of fatty tissues , their cells develop resistance to insulin.
2.Inactivity : Laziness is definitely a bane. The more inactive a person is , higher the risk. Undertaking some physical activity leads to the usage of glucose , making the cells more sensitive to insulin.
3.Family history to the disease: This is important if the parents of siblings have this disease , the risk increases.
4.High Blood Pressure: People with a B.P. over 140/90 mmHg have a great risk to develop Type 2 diabetes.
These are some of the known risk factors which increase the chances of developing this disease.
Diabetes often brings with itself a host of problems. The longer you carry the disease with an uncontrolled blood sugar , the higher the complications.
1.Cardiovascular disease: Increases the risk of developing a coronary heart disease with the threat of a stroke , narrowing of arteries or an even life threatening situation.
2.Kidney damage: Kidneys filter impurities from the blood using the sensitive filtration system. Diabetes can rupture this and cause permanent damage to the kidneys leading to dialysis.
3.Retinopathy or Eye damage: Diabetes can also cause rupturing of the retina blood vessels leading to a blindness or catarct or a glaucoma.
4.Alzheimers: DIabetes can also increase the risk of dementia like Alzheimers.
Prevention and Treatment
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that needs to be tackled by efficient diet control and smart planning to ensure a good management of sugar levels. There are many branches of alternate medicine that can help in this endeavour , some of them are discussed herein.
1. Homeopathy: Uranium Nitricum, Syzygium Jambolanum, Gymnema sylvestre and Cephalandra Indica are commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines for diabetes control. A qualified Homeopath checks your blood sugar reports and symptoms before prescribing the right drug and dosage for your particular situation.
2. Ayurveda: Turmeric , Neem , Shilajit ,bitter gourd , amalaki etc. are prescribed in addition to other herbs by a qualified Ayurvedic physician to suit your particular condition besides following the Ayurveda principles of eating slowly , chewing the food properly , drinking water only 1 hour after having a meal , etc.
3. Yoga: Performing yogasanas like Kapalbhati Pranayama , Anulom-Vilom Pranayama , Supta Matsyendrasana , Vakrasana , etc. under the strict monitoring of a qualified yoga instructor , can do wonders to you in helping control the diabetes and with sincere practice even reverse it in conjunction with a strict diet as prescribed.
Diabetes is known as a slow killer and is plaguing most of the countries across the world. It is an added burden to the GDP of a country and can wreck households. It is primarily described as a lifestyle ailment which effectively means to improve one’s lifestyle like having meals on time and chewing the food properly and not gulping it rashly, resting adequately , cutting down stress and anxiety from lives with the help of yoga and meditation , doing physical activity every day , walking after meals etc. It can be controlled and eliminated through Yoga , Homeopathy and Ayurveda , if followed sincerely and in able mentorship.
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