Diabetes one of the fastest growing diseases worldwide is rising rapidly in people of all age groups including adolescents and children. The condition occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it effectively. From heart diseases, kidney problems, stroke to lower limb amputation, the chronic disease poses many health risks to people affected by it.
Sedentary lifestyle coupled with rising stress and faulty dietary choices have increased the risk of people getting the disease. People who have diabetes in their family history have more chances of developing it.
“The inactive lifestyle leads to loss of muscle mass that may cause insulin resistance because our bodies are meant to be physically active. For thousands of years we led an active lifestyle, and it is only for the past 100 years or so we have got somewhat sedentary, explains Dr Arbinder Singal, a renowned super specialist doctor and co-founder & CEO of Fitterfly, a health tech start-up.
Dr Singal also adds how our reliance on wheat and rice as staple food has been contributing to the carbohydrate load in our diet that could be putting us at risk of diabetes. He says our body breaks down carbohydrates easily which raises the level of glucose very quickly.
Another factor that may be increasing our diabetes risk is stress. It is thanks to the complexities of our modern lifestyle, which are increasing by the day as we work from home and hardly get space to relax or communicate with people. Stress affects our metabolic activity and stimulates the release of various hormones, which can result in increase in blood sugar level.
“Our faulty lifestyle is also affecting children whose physical activity is limited as they are not going to schools or playgrounds like before. Children do what their parents do and when they do not follow healthy habits themselves, it increases chances of the kids developing diabetes in future too,” says Dr Singal.
How to reverse prediabetes, diabetes or reduce chances of getting diabetes
While it is possible to reverse diabetes at early stages and reverse prediabetes, people often are not aware how to do it considering there is so much information available on internet and they may end up not working on themselves at all and rely on their medication for bringing down their sugar levels.
Dr. Singal suggests three extremely simple lifestyle changes that if followed for 90 days can reverse early stages of diabetes, prediabetes or reduce your chances of getting it.
1. Reduce your carbs intake
People often lack awareness of how healthy they are. The first thing they should do is to invest time and energy to assess it. People should assess how much carbohydrates and calories they are having in their everyday diet. The first thing that is done in reversal of diabetes is to bring down the carbohydrate intake to 50%. Most of the Indians consume 60-70% of carbs. The moment we cut down carbs by even 10%, you start to see the change. Technology can also come to rescue as there are various apps that are available these days to help track carbs and calories in diet.
2. Work on your core strength
While walking is extremely important, exercises to build upper body mass, back, leg, core go a long way in reversing your diabetes. People who have better core strength have 33% lower risk of strokes, heart diseases and diabetes, according to studies.
3. Sleep and stress management
People should not hurry to go to their beds and take out an hour before they sleep to just reflect and relax. In the morning, the first one hour should be dedicated to ourselves. Sleeping is equally important and at least 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended for body’s cleansing mechanism to work properly. There should be a 2-hours gap before last meal and sleep.
How to assess risk of getting diabetes
Before you develop diabetes, you have prediabetes which is an asymptomatic condition. People who have family history of diabetes and a BMI of more than 23 and are above 30 years of age can get online prediabetes risk assessment test. You have to answer 10 questions and if your score is more than 5, you should get fasting blood glucose test done. One should continue to do this test every year.
70% of prediabetics, if they do not work on themselves, would progress to diabetes within 5-7 years, on the other hand, making the required lifestyle changes would cut your chance of diabetes by 70-80%.
Workout for diabetics
What works best for the people with diabetes if they don’t have joint issues, back pain, or neck pain is 15-20 minutes of exercise. Doing jumping jacks, lunges, crunches, pushups, three times a week for 20 minutes can help fight insulin resistance.