This November 14, World Diabetes Day, will mark another year of preventing and fighting diabetes for doctor’s who specialise in the disease. It is also a time for diabetic patients to take stock of how well they had managed their disease.
Every year the International Diabetic Federation (IDF) brings out a slogan for the World Diabetes Day. This year the slogan is ‘Healthy Living and Diabetes’ and the focus is on starting the day with a healthy breakfast. It is being recognized that a healthy breakfast in the morning can improve the production of insulin and suppress the hormones that tend to elevate the blood sugar levels in our body.
The breakfast should ideally consist of whole grain cereals (like oats, wheat,etc) with small portion of whole fruits (fruit juices to be avoided as much as possible). A good and wholesome breakfast in the morning helps keep the body relaxed and full of energy during the course of the day. It is found that diabetic patients who have a good breakfast had lower blood sugar levels throughout the day than those who skip breakfast. This also emphasises that our diabetic patients should not skip meals in the hope of lowering their blood sugar levels; this actually increases the blood sugar levels on the contrary.
It is also important for a diabetic to try and eat the same quantity of food with each meal. The age old adage “no fast, no feast” for a diabetic is becoming more relevant in today’s world. Binge eating during festivals or marriage ceremonies should be avoided since it produces steep rise in blood sugar levels. It is also wrong for diabetic patients to self medicate with extra medication or insulin during these binges because it can cause more damage than good.
On this World Diabetes Day - 2015, it is good to be reminded that diabetes is a disease that can be effectively managed (never cured) by effective medication strategies. Fortunately for us, we can prevent the dreaded complications that arise out of it (damage to the eyes, foot, kidneys, heart attacks, strokes, etc) by effective intervention. Every diabetic should be advised to visit his diabetes specialist at least once in 3 months. He or she should have a mandatory complete diabetes check up once in a year in order to pick up these complications early. The management of diabetes is not complete without treating the co-existing hypertension and high cholesterol levels in these individuals. Smokers should be strongly advised to quit smoking as a part of effective diabetes management.
Let us celebrate World diabetes Day -2015 by sharing these important messages with our friends, relatives and well wishers. Together let us make the world a better place.
—Dr Tom Babu, MD, DNB
(The author is consultant endocrinologist & medical director at Silverline Hospital (Centre for Diabetes, Thyroid & Endocrinology, Kochi)