Lifestyle changes key in diabetes care
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Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes that occurs in adult population after 30-40 years of age, says Dr Shahid Alam, Specialist Internal Medicine, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.
Type 2 diabetes is an important contributor to premature vascular disease (like heart attack and strokes), kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
Approximately 19.2 per cent of the UAE population has been diagnosed with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is frequently asymptomatic and remains undiagnosed for many years. Lifestyle issues such as lack of exercise and excessive calorie intake are often responsible for the early onset of diabetes.
Primary care lays stress on delay or prevention of onset of diabetes. “We need to address the causative factors like hereditary and environmental,” Dr Alam said.
A more likely approach to the prevention of type 2 diabetes could be through lifestyle changes that favourably influence insulin sensitivity and secretion capacity.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by avoidance of obesity, increasing physical activity, dietary modification and optimisation of the intrauterine (during pregnancy) environment.
Obesity is associated with increased risk of diabetes. Results of many prevention trials showed that regular exercise reduced the risk of developing diabetes especially for those who are overweight and have a family history of diabetes.
The quantity and composition of diet is also an important contributing factor. Stress should be laid on consumption of low fat food consisting of vegetables, cereals, whole wheat products and fruits.
Low birth weight also increases risk of future diabetes. Many studies suggest that adequate maternal nutrition and avoiding high blood sugar in mother during pregnancy have a preventive role in type 2 diabetes.
Hence, we should mainly focus on lifestyle changes like regular exercise, weight reduction and low calorie food for prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Secondary prevention deals with the management of diabetic complications by early diagnosis and adequate treatment of the disorder.
There is also need for treating and addressing associated risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking.
Tertiary prevention means early detection, regular check-up and follow-up with health care providers.