How to Prevent Diabetes Naturally?

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How to prevent diabetes naturally in India.

How to Prevent Diabetes Naturally? 

Dr. Yatish Agarwal 

Over 35 million people in India suffer from diabetes today. Unless we take rearguard action and initiate prompt preventive steps both at the individual and community level, the disease is all set to swamp us. The predictions are that by the year 2025, the country would have over 57 million people with diabetes making it the worst hub of the disease in the world.
How to Prevent Diabetes Naturally

The rise in cases of diabetes has been exponential over the last two decades. Roughly 10-12 percent adults in urban India, and 3-4 percent in countryside suffer from it. Worse still, more than one-half do not even know that they have diabetes. Since the illness can jeopardize life, and carries a high risk of serious complications such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and circulatory system, efforts have been afoot to identify the risk factors that lead to the development of the disease, and confirm if any lifestyle changes can reliably prevent or delay its occurrence.

In more than 95 percent cases, people suffer from type 2 diabetes. During the last one decade, large community studies have established some of the culprits that lead to it, and on that basis, preventive strategies have been put together. Let’s see how:


Factors that increase your risk

Much as people believe, diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar. Even though we may not quite know all its secrets, researchers have been able to confirm that certain lifestyle factors and health conditions increase the risk of developing diabetes.


1. Family history : 

You are more likely to develop diabetes if someone in your immediate family has the disease, whether it is your father, mother, brother or sister. This genetic association manifests more strongly if your sibling suffers from the disease. The risk also goes up considerably if both your parents have diabetes. Interestingly, this genetic connection of the disease was known as long ago as 600 BC. The Susruta Samhita states this possibility in clear terms, calling it beej janya.


2. Weight : 

Being overweight (BMI over 25) is by far the greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. More than 80 per cent of people who develop this type of diabetes are overweight. The more fat you have, the more resistant your cells become to your own insulin. Studies show that the risk for developing type 2 diabetes increases by 4 percent for every pound of excess weight a person carries. It is as though the fat blocks insulin from doing its job.


3. Physical inactivity : 

Individuals who lead a sedentary life and do not find time for physical exercise run a major risk of developing diabetes. The less active you are, the greater is your risk. This risk stems from cells becoming resistant to the action of insulin.

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4. Blood pressure and cholesterol link : 

If your blood pressure is high and has crossed 140/90 mm Hg, triglycerides are more than 250 mg/dl or your HDL cholesterol is less than 35 mg/ dl, then it is time to pull your socks and bring some quick healthful changes in your lifestyle. These parameters are clear indicators that unless you carry out quick changes you have a definite risk of developing diabetes.
Body mass index

5. Womanly risks : 

A woman who has suffered from polycystic ovarian disease, or a diabetes while she was pregnant, or had given birth to a baby who was more than 9 pounds at birth should always be on the vigil for diabetes.


6. Age : 

As you grow older, your risk of type 2 diabetes increases. The risk grows once you go past the age of 45, but even younger people in the twenties, thirties and early forties must be careful. Type 2 diabetes is being increasingly diagnosed in younger set of people, mirroring the changing lifestyle.


The Obesity Connection

Your weight and your risk for developing diabetes are closely related. If you feel concerned, check your body mass index (BMI), or measure your waist, to know how much weight you have. Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement based on a formula that takes into account your weight and your height in determining how much fat you carry around your body. To determine your BMI, locate your height on the chart given here and follow that row across until you reach the column with the weight nearest yours. Look at the top of that column for the corresponding BMI rating.

A BMI of 19 to 24 is considered okay (although it’s certainly better if you are nearer 19 than 24). A BMI of 25 to 29 signifies being overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity. Once your BMI goes over 24, your risk of developing diabetes increases.


Waist circumference: 

Extra weight is bad enough, but it also matters where the weight is stored. If you carry most of the weight around your belly, you are ‘apple-shaped’. If it is around your hips and thighs, you are ‘pear-shaped’. Where you store weight is for the most part inherited from your parents, but, if you are apple-shaped, you are at a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. In any case, if you carry too much weight, you should take steps to lose the extra fat.

To determine whether you are carrying too much weight around your belly, measure your waist circumference. Find the highest point on each of your hipbones and measure across your abdomen just above those highest points. A measurement of more than 39 inches in men and 34 inches in women signifies increased health risks.


Taking preventive steps to stop diabetes

You may greatly reduce your risk of developing diabetes if you take pre-emptive steps and adopt healthful changes in your living habits. No age is too early, and the sooner you realize the benefits of good nutrition, physical activity, and restriction of weight, the better are your chances of progressing in life without being affected by diabetes. If you are careful, the risk of the disease can be reduced by 50 to 60 percent.


Eat healthy : 

Restrict your daily calories to suit your weight and lifestyle. Take more fiber, restrict fat to less than 30 per cent of daily calories and reduce saturated fat intake to less than 10 per cent calories. The less processed food you take, and the more natural food you take, the better it is for you.


Get moving : 

Exercise regularly. Take a 30-minute brisk walk most days of the week. If you find it dull, you can swim, cycle, do aerobic dancing or play a sport such as badminton or tennis. The goal should be to do at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.


Maintain a healthy weight : 

Watch your weight. If your BMI is 24 or over, you must take proactive measures to shed weight. In 95 per cent cases, the reason of obesity is straightforward: too many calories and too little activity. Reverse this, and you may profit!
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