Living with diabetes is neither easy nor difficult for over 61.3 million Indians, with the highest prevalence of diabetes in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat as of 2015. You need to take utmost care of your routine life, diet and sugar levels. You must also have the understanding of tackling emergencies caused due to high or low sugar levels and know the emergency ambulance number 108 whenever the situation goes out of your hands. To avoid such an emergency, you must have a balanced lifestyle as a diabetic to live your life to the fullest.
(Data Source: United Nations World Health Organization)
Well, I am saying this as a doctor and an observer of the life of my mom. She lived with diabetes for over 23 years. Though she succumbed to hypoglycaemia after a successful operation of an appendix burst, I would still advocate possibilities of living a healthy life with diabetes. She was one of the 1 million Indians who died from diabetes in 2012. I can still hear her voice asking my brother and me for some chocolate, instead of dextrose for quick relieve. Unfortunately, I couldn’t serve her that as she wasn’t allowed to eat anything orally but through saline.
(Image Courtesy: The Wall Street Journal)
Nonetheless, each one of us needs to educate and stay aware of the following tips to control diabetes:
- You must accept yourself as a diabetic and take proper care and medication
- You must be ready for lifestyle changes and its management as you can’t permanently cure diabetes (unless secondary medical conditions cause it)
- You must understand that the consequences of uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood sugar level can be dreadful, leading to heart attack, stroke, damage to kidneys, nerves and eyes and infections.
- You must regularly consult a qualified doctor for proper check-ups and treatment
- Abide by the doctor’s advice regarding the required tests, modifications in lifestyle, prescribed medicines and regular diagnosis of blood sugar levels.
- Consult a qualified dietitian as advised by your doctor, and follow her/his diet plan.
- Giddiness, excessive hunger, weakness, sweating, palpitation etc. are a few symptoms of hypoglycaemia. Become familiar with these symptoms and always keep a packet of sugar with you to overcome them.
- Create and keep a card with the information of your contact details, antidiabetic medication dosage and the details of a contact person required in times of emergency.
- Take medicines regularly and never stop medication without doctor’s consultation.
- Selfcare is a must. So, consult your doctor even if you get a small injury. Do not neglect it at all when its on your hands or feet.
- Always follow a proper diet and never skip a meal after taking medicine.
- Stay away from unsolicited and unscientific advice of the layman or social media posts.
The above tips will only help you to control diabetes but preventing yourself from it is equally important. Having said that I would like to draw your focus on 77.2 million people with pre-diabetes in India alone. These people still have the scope to dodge diabetes by following the Lifestyle changes listed here:
- It is essential to get adequate sleep.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Prefer green leafy vegetables and salads in your diet over other items.
- Eat one fruit daily (mainly seasonal) as advised by your doctor or dietitian.
- Stay away from junk and comfort food such as biscuits, cookies, packed snack items, soft/energy drinks, noodles, cakes, pastries, pizzas, burgers, deep-fried items, refined sugar etc.
- If overweight or obese, start working on a reduction in weight.
- Exercise regularly, practise yoga, meditate or take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day or as advised by your doctor.
- Do not consume alcohol, tobacco or any harmful addictive substance.
- Consult counsellors or psychiatrists for mental health issues or stress symptoms.
With perfect balance in lifestyle and positive behavioural changes, you will be able to plan your life well. So, harbour only positive feelings and shield yourself with a healthy diet or routine to live with diabetes. Be calm and in case of emergency, call the emergency ambulance number 108 for quick intense care.
Author: Dr. Santosh Datar