Mumbai: Nowadays Diabetes is so common, that every person knows at least one person who is diabetic, whether in family or friends or at the workplace.
The classic symptoms of untreated diabetes are unexpected weight loss, polyurea (increased frequency of urination) polydipsia (increased thirst), and Polyphagia (growth in appetite). In type 1 DM symptoms can develop rapidly (week or month), while they usually develop very slowly and can be subtle or absent in type 2 DM.
The risk of long-term complications in all forms of diabetes increases. These usually develop after many years (10-20), but this may be the first symptom in those people who have not yet been diagnosed before that time.
In an interaction with TheChronicle Dr Vinanti Pol, a specialist in diabetology and cardiology shared her views on how anyone could recover from diabetes.
There are a lot of people who consider eating sweets can cause diabetes. What’s your take on this?
It is not about just consuming sweets. It’s about the balance between how much you consume and how much you burn with proper lifestyle modification if we are able to burn the targeted calories than the blood sugar level remains stable. Moreover, in a non-diabetic, insulin production is fair enough for the utilization of glucose. But if a person is completely into a sedentary lifestyle, overweight and fails to burn the calories then it leads to insulin resistance in the body over a period of time and the glucose levels may spike which eventually leads to a pre-diabetic stage. If still further ignored then finally the person lands into a full-fledged diabetic stage which then becomes irreversible as at this stage already 50-60% of beta cells are destroyed permanently.
What is commonly asked questions you get from your patients about diabetes? How do you explain to them?
The commonly asked questions are which I have been asked frequently are:
Can Diabetes be reversed?
No, diabetes cannot be reversed but it can be maintained with a healthy lifestyle and medication.
Excess of OHA if taken, does it harms the kidneys?
If OHA not taken there are chances that high sugars can damage your kidney directly.
Insulin or OHA once started do we have to continue lifelong?
Yes, it has to be taken for a lifetime, but if well managed, the minimal dose will be required.
Which is better taking insulin or OHA’s?
Taking insulin or OHA depends from person to person. We always try to opt for OHA as it is easier and the patient is compliant. But in some cases, insulin becomes mandatory such as in
– Type 1 DM.
-Gestational diabetes(only in the gestational period after delivery patient can be shifted to OHA if she is responding well to the same.)
– Some conditions like in Nephropathy
– Secondary failure of OHA, post-operative conditions, allergic to OHA and co-morbidities like CCF, severe diabetic foot, etc.
According to you what is the most important factor a diabetic patient should keep in mind, what works best for them?
According to me, a diabetic patient should always keep in mind that he is the one who can help himself. The first and the foremost thing that would work better for him is proper diet and physical activity that includes at least 40-60 min of brisk walk per day. Patients who suffer from joint pain and cannot walk can indulge in moderate forms of exercises like yoga or floor exercises. Or people who don’t want to perform exercises can go for their favourite sports like swimming, football, cricket or any outdoor activity for that matter.
How social support is important to a diabetic?
Yes, social support helps very much for a patient not only in diabetes but also for other diseases.
Social support from family and friends will help the patient in terms of regular follow-ups, maintaining a good diet and good lifestyle. This is also capable of promoting self-care behaviour of patients with diabetes. Therefore, getting family members, especially the husband/wife, involved in self-care behaviour can be of significant importance in providing health care to patients with diabetes.