According to key findings from the 9th edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas (an authoritative source of evidence that provides detailed information on the state of diabetes in the world), over 80 million Indians are already affected, and a staggering 135 million will be by 2045.
Did you know one in 11 Indians is already battling diabetes, a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar increases, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. However, with diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as much as it should. Too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream when there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin. Over time, that can cause serious health problems like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
The Four Main Types Of Diabetes
- Prediabetes can occur at any age and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In this stage, your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2.
- Type 1 can start at any age, but it often begins during childhood or adolescence. It occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make insulin resulting in one taking insulin shots daily.
- Type 2 can develop at any age and is the most prevalent type in India. It occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or your body isn’t using it well.
- During pregnancy, some women who don’t have diabetes develop gestational diabetes. It usually disappears after the baby is born, but having gestational diabetes increases both your and your baby’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
Not everyone with diabetes notices symptoms. It is challenging to detect prediabetes and type 2 because they develop gradually over several years. Women with gestational diabetes typically don’t have any symptoms at all. The most common diabetes symptoms are thirst, frequent urination, tiredness, and losing weight.
Warning Signs To Look Out For
- Feeling more thirsty than usual
- Urinating often
- Losing weight without trying
- Presence of ketones in the urine
- Feeling tired and weak
- Feeling irritable or having other mood changes
- Having a blurry vision
- Having slow-healing sores
- Contracting many infections, such as gum, skin, and vaginal infections.
Even if one is not experiencing these symptoms, indicators such as a BMI higher than 25, anyone older than 35 years, or anyone diagnosed with pre-diabetes are all advised to get tested yearly.
How To Know If You Have Diabetes
Four standard blood tests recommended are…
- A1C test that provides information about your average levels of blood glucose over three months.
- Blood sugar test before or after meals. It doesn’t matter when you last ate.
- A fasting blood sugar test requires you to fast for at least 10-12 hours after a meal the previous night.
- Glucose Tolerance Test for which you are required to fast overnight, post which the blood sugar level is measured. You are then required to consume a sugary liquid, post which the blood sugar levels are again tested regularly for the next two hours.
Kindly ensure you consult a doctor before proceeding with any of the tests.
Most importantly, be active and eat right! Read our blog on feel-good fitness and how to avoid unhealthy gut