Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Understand Diabesity: A deadly cocktail of sugar and fat!

The present day deranged lifestyle supported by cola culture, junk food and physical inactivity has actually led to this new world health disorder- Diabesity – ‘Diabetes + Obesity’. And the worrying thing is that it is being diagnosed in an increasing number of young Indians informs Dr Ambrish Mithal, HOD, Endocrinology and Diabesity at Medanta. Today’s obese child is soon going to be a diabetic.

Dr Mithal identifies genetic susceptibility, environmental and behavior factors contribute to diabesity and advise regular exercise to cure it. To know more about diabesity, keep reading.

Understand this syndrome of disorder

What is diabesity?

It is a term use to describe a process that begins before prediabetes, the continuum from optimal blood sugar balance towards insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes. Insulin resistance is the real cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemic that impacts end number of Indians today. Although “diabesity” is made up of the concepts of obesity and diabetes, even those who aren’t overweight can have this problem adds Dr Mithal. It can occur in people who are “under lean” (not enough muscle) instead of overweight, and have just a little extra weight around the middle.

How does insulin resistance develop?

Triggered by too many refined, sugary carbohydrates and beverages, insulin resistance occurs when your cells slowly become resistant—or numb—to the effects of insulin and need more and more of it to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. A high insulin level is the first sign, but unfortunately, most doctors never test this. Rather, they test blood sugar levels, but these rise above healthy levels only after insulin has been elevated for some time. Symptoms may include weight gain around the belly, swings in blood pressure that make you feel anxious, irritable, or tired, and can even cause palpitations and panic attacks. Therefore, testing of insulin levels for anyone who has a family history of type 2 diabetes, belly fat or increased waist size, or abnormal cholesterol is recommended.

Can we prevent or reverse the condition?

Diabesity is both preventable and reversible by our lifestyle choices. Whole, real, fresh food that you cook yourself is the most potent medicine, along with reducing stress, increasing exercise, and balancing nutritional deficiencies. Composing the perfect meal is an essential life skill. Your plate should look like this: One-half low-starch vegetables (ladyfinger); one-quarter protein (lentils); and one-quarter of either one-half cup of whole grains. Choose organic food to keep toxins off your plate.

Can supplements also help?

Yes, although they can’t substitute for whole foods and exercise. A multivitamin such as  Vitamin D3, fish oil, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, chromium polynicotinate, biotin, cinnamon, green tea helps a lot in the diabetes and obesity management as these control appetite. Most people can also benefit from probiotics for healthy digestion.

How to stop the future to be fat

Check on the symptoms

Sugary drinks and a couch potato lifestyle are the two main villains of the obesity crisis. However the other culprit symptoms that demand immediate attention and action are the following:

  • Sugar cravings, especially after meals
  • Eating sweets does not relieve cravings for sugar
  • Fatigue after meals
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and appetite
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Slowed stomach emptying
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Visual problems
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Awareness is the key

Social awareness leading to behavior modification, physical activity and non-clinical weight management programs can compensate for our bad genes and prevent diabesity. Promoting weight loss and physical exercise is the way out. International studies have shown that a weight loss of seven percent and exercise for 30 minutes daily lower the rate of diabesity by about 60 percent.

Why ‘diabesity’ is a global health crisis

Diabesity is no longer a disease to consider with laidback attitude rather it needs prompt attention because it brings along many more diseases with it. If you have diabesity, you are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer and kidney failure. Severe diabetes causes nervous system damage leading to loss of sensation in hands and feet, and carpal tunnel syndrome among host of other dysfunctions. Few more health hazards that diabesity bring include the following: gallbladder disease, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, abdominal obesity (i.e. “spare tire” syndrome); dyslipidemia (low HDL, high LDL and high triglycerides); systemic inflammation and a tendency to form blood clots.

Treating diabesity

Diabesity can be treated and even reversed if we modify our lifestyle, but we have to delve into the root cause of this disorder to correct it.

The first step is to keep your weight in check. And there are no shortcuts in the process. You have to embrace a healthy lifestyle which includes eating healthy foods and exercising. Choose an activity that you could do every day, but the mantra is that you should stick to it.

Few simple lifestyle changes and a bit modification in your diet plans can do a lot in keeping a guard to diabesity. Try to bring these 12 simple changes in your lifestyle today to enjoy a carefree future:

1. Nudge the Scale: Shedding even 3-4 kilos can significantly slash your risk.

2. Pick the Right Appetizer: May we recommend the salad? Even at party time prefer eating greens before a starchy entrée as it may help control your blood sugar levels.

3. Ditch Your Car and walk as much as you can every day. Reasons being brisk walks, jogs are quite helpful in keeping the weight under control. If you procrastinate these in the want of company, then it’s a good idea to join a gym or a dance class or find a companion who could motivate you to be active.

4. Be a Cereal Connoisseur Selecting the right cereal can help you slim down and steady blood sugar. A higher whole grain intake is also linked to lower rates of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke—and cereal is one of the best sources of these life saving grains.

5. Ditch the Drive-Thru You might get away with an occasional fast-food splurge, but become a regular “fast feeder” and your risk of diabetes skyrockets.

6. Go Veggie More Often Consider meat a treat—not something to eat every day.Those who ate meat at least 5 times a week had a 29% higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those who lived on veggies.

7. Spice Up Your Life Cinnamon may help rein in high blood sugar. Compounds in cinnamon may activate enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors. The sweet spice has also been shown to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, blood fats that may contribute to diabetes risk.

8. Unwind Every Day Chronic stress can send blood sugar levels soaring. When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, raising blood sugar levels to prepare you for action. And if your cells are insulin resistant, the sugar builds up in your blood, with nowhere to go—leading to chronically high levels. The good news is, simple relaxation exercises and other stress management moves can help you gain control over blood sugar levels.

9. Get a Perfect Night’s Rest There’s a sleep sweet spot when it comes to preventing diabetes.

10. Keep Good Company Diabetes is more likely to strike those who live alone. Reasons behind are living alone one gets more likely to smoke or consume alcohol and less likely to have healthy dietary habits.

11. Go for regular blood test Many diabetes symptoms are silent. So a simple blood test followed regularly in a period of 3 to 6 months can reveal whether sugar levels put you at risk for the condition. And knowing your blood sugar levels are a little high, you can come on a track to steadying them—with simple diet and exercise changes—before the disease sets in.

12. Manage stress to keep your insulin levels under control.  The solution is simple just learn to relax. Meditate, listen to music, take a walk or do gardening, but keep your stress levels under control.

“Last but not the least, keep in mind that diabetes is everywhere around the world”, says Dr. Mithal, “and it touches people, whether they are the person with diabetes or the person caring for someone with diabetes. It has a global reach and a global impact.” So the key to combat diabesity is to act sensible and bring these simple modifications in our lifestyle. It is all you need to take to stay healthy and stop worrying about sugar problems.

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Category: Diabetes
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