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A Holistic Approach to Diabetes

B Positive Content Team

 
Diabetes is fast becoming one among the four leading causes of death. Over the next decade, diabetes prevalence is expected to grow by 25 per cent,whichis largely driven by the rising prevalence of obesity and inactivity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 200 million people worldwide will have diabetes by 2010 and that the number will reach 330 million by 2025.

Better management of diabetes is possible only with a holistic approach. Insulin, medicines, a healthy diet, relaxation, stress management, sensible exercises, yoga, and meditation are some tools at our disposal to control diabetes. Use these techniques with the help of your doctor to supplement your arsenal of diabetes fighting tools.

Medicine
Medications for diabetes must always be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes, particularly diet and exercise, to improve the symptoms of diabetes. Gestational diabetes is treated with diet and insulin.

Insulin
All individuals with type 1 diabetes must use insulin to control their blood glucose levels, and roughly 40 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes require insulin. Insulin is injected into the fat under the skin where it is absorbed directly by the blood. As an alternative to injections, an insulin pump (worn outside the body) can deliver insulin through a catheter in the tissue below the skin of the abdomen.
The pump eliminates the need for injections and offers better control of blood sugar. Inhaled insulin is currently under investigation. There are many types of insulin, and they can be categorized according to how quickly they work to lower blood sugar, and how long they stay in the bloodstream.

Other medications used to treat diabetes include:
  1. Sulfonylureas, also called oral hypoglycemic agents, lower blood sugar by prompting the pancreas to secrete insulin.
  2. Meglitinides are taken with meals and reduce the elevation in blood sugar that generally follows eating. If these drugs are not taken with food, blood sugar will drop dramatically and inappropriately.
  3. Biguanides lower blood sugar by improving the response to insulin by cells in the body (this diminishes insulin resistance).
  4. Thiazolidinedione improves uptake of glucose by the cells in the body; usually used with insulin.
  5. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors medications in this class lower the amount of sugar absorbed from the intestines, thereby reducing the rise in blood glucose that occurs after a meal.
Nutrition therapy
People with diabetes can improve significantly from lifestyle changes, particularly diet and exercise. Type 2 diabetics can even eliminate/reduce the need for medications, provided patients make adequate and appropriate lifestyle changes.

Diet 
There is no special diet for diabetics except to avoid simple sugars. They can consume normal diet with few modifications. They should consume a healthy, low-fat diet, rich in grains and vegetables.

Foods that can be taken liberally

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • All vegetables except for roots and tubers
  • Tomato juice or lime juice without sugar
  • Vegetable soups (without butter) or skimmed butter milk
  • Salads, sprouts
 
A healthy diet typically includes 10 per cent to 20 per cent of daily calories from protein (including poultry, fish, dairy, and vegetable sources). Diabetics who also have kidney disease should limit protein intake to 10 per cent of daily calories. A low fat diet typically includes 30 per cent or less of daily calories from fat, less than 10 per cent from saturated fats and up to 10 per cent from polyunsaturated fats (such as fats from fish).

In addition, weight loss should be part of the plan for those with type 2 diabetes. Moderate weight loss (achieved by reducing calories by 250 to 500 per day and exercising regularly) not only controls blood sugars, but blood pressure and cholesterol as well. Diabetics who eat healthy, well-balanced diets will not need to take extra vitamins or minerals to treat their condition.

Foods to avoid
  • Jam, sugar, honey, jaggery, glucose
  • Sweets and desserts
  • Corn flour, custard powder, jelly etc
  • Cakes and pastries
  • Organ meats like brain, liver, kidney, etc
  • Fruits like banana, mango, grapes, dates, jack fruit etc
  • Dry fruits, cooked carrots, sweet potato, tapioca
  • Tender coconut, coconut water
  • Nuts like cashew nuts, almonds, Pista
  • Aerated drinks such as Coco cola, Pepsi, etc
  • Horlicks, Bournvita, Boost etc
 
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