Updated: Jan 27
Prevention and Management
By Niranjana S. Rajalakshmi, MVSc (Vet. Microbiology)
Science Writer (Freelance)
In our previous article, we gave you an overview about the different types of Diabetes. In this article, we want to give you tips and ideas to manage your life with Diabetes and talk about prediabetes which affects 1 out of every 3 adults.
Prediabetes is a condition where the blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas transports the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body to be used up as energy.
Prediabetes occurs when insulin-producing cells in the pancreas do not secrete enough insulin or when the body has already developed some resistance to insulin. Many people do not have any symptoms. However, over time, people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, if not treated, could lead to damage of the eyes, the kidneys and, the nervous system.
The good news is, with proper lifestyle changes and diet modifications, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes!
Lose weight – Obesity is cited as the major risk factor for developing insulin resistance in the body. Hence, if your body weight is above the normal range, losing 5 to 7 percent of the total weight would help.
Have a regular exercise regimen – Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS in women is closely associated with insulin resistance which is a characteristic of type 2 diabetes. Further, a 2012 study in the UK found that women with PCOS were three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Working with your physician to tackle PCOS could help in preventing diabetes as well
Avoid smoking – Smokers are 50% more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers
How can Type 2 Diabetes be managed?
Once affected with diabetes, it can be managed by a combination of the following
Oral diabetic medications or insulin
Maintaining the ideal body weight
Diet – There is no single prescribed ‘diabetes diet’. They are tailored to fit each individual’s requirements, schedule, and eating habits and should be balanced with diabetic medications. However, the general recommendation includes consuming whole grains, leafy vegetables, fruits with a low glycemic index, non-fat dairy products and lean meats.
Can diabetes be reversed?
There is strong evidence to support that weight loss could aid in the reversal of diabetes. The World Health Organisation’s 2016 global report on diabetes states that diabetes could be reversed through weight loss and calorie restriction. But how about diet? Can it help reverse diabetes?
A recent study says that green jackfruit powder helps lower blood sugar levels. The authors claim that including 30 grams of the powder in the daily menu, significantly reduces the glucose level in the blood. Though the study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled, the number of participants was only 40. Further research might be required to get a better picture
Fenugreek seed which is a key ingredient in Indian recipes has been studied for its anti-diabetic effects for long. Though several studies exist to support that fenugreek seeds could help in controlling blood sugar, not enough evidence exists to ascertain whether they can cause a complete reversal of diabetes.
Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called p-insulin or polypeptide-p that is claimed to have insulin-like effects and control diabetes naturally.
Barley is said to lower high blood sugar levels due to its high dietary fiber content
Nuts have also been cited to be helpful for diabetes control. However, research also shows that walnut increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hence, even more extensive research may be required to get better clarity.
While the above said food has been claimed to lower blood sugar levels and to a certain extent reverse diabetes, it is important to consult with your diabetologist or nutritionist to tailor your diet according to your medications and your overall health.
Here are some of the essential dos and don’ts of diabetes:
Eat at regular intervals – This will help in maintaining consistent sugar levels
Exercise every day – to induce fat loss
Frequently monitor using a glucometer
Replace simple carbohydrates (rice, maida) with complex carbohydrates (oats, jowar, bajra)
Have daily fiber intake of 20-25 grams which helps in reducing postprandial blood glucose levels
Avoid fasting, it could cause hypoglycemia.
Avoid fruits with a high glycemic index such as grapes, mangoes, and custard apples
Don’t forget your protein while watching out for carbs
Don’t get dehydrated – it could shoot up blood glucose level
Don’t get too stressed – stress causes the body to produce more glucose which gets accumulated in the cells.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes (where the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas), can neither be prevented or reversed. It can be managed with insulin administration and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Note: Please consult a medical professional or a trained nutritionist regarding specifics of your health and symptoms or before changing your diet or trying something new.
Disclaimer: Miyara Health does not undertake any financial/ reputational/ legal/ health related/misrepresentational impact or other obligations/ liabilities that may arise from the content.
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