Exercise, healthy diet can combat diabetes: Experts (Nov 14 is World Diabetes Day)

November 14th, 2010 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) With the largest number of diabetes patients in the world, India needs to promote a healthier lifestyle among its citizens if it has any chance of battling the disease, experts said Sunday.

“Diabetes is either hereditary or lifestyle-related in our country. So now the need is to move away from the sedentary lifestyle,” S.K. Wangnoo, senior consultant of endocrinology at the capital’s Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, told IANS.

According the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, there are about 220 million diabetes patients worldwide. Nearly 50.9 million of them are in India. Around 9 percent of the country’s population is expected to be affected by the disease by 2030, he said.

“Awareness on issues like obesity and proper nutrition is lacking in the country. Right now, we need to emphasise on nutrition-related education in schools,” Wangnoo added.

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder, usually occurs when the body does not produce insulin — a hormone that is required to convert sugar and carbohydrates into energy.

Avoiding fatty food, regular exercise, and health check-ups are some of the ways to avoid diabetes, doctors say.

The sentiment was echoed by former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram, who was in the capital to inaugurate a sugar clinic at Apollo Hospital.

“When I found out I was diebetic, I was stunned. However, the disease can be fought. Awareness can prevent the disease,” he said.

“We need to have more diabetes awareness clinics. That is how we can spread awareness among youths,” he added.

Experts also suggest keeping a watch on the symptoms.

“Increased fatigue, frequent urination, weight fluctuation, blurry vision, and poor wound healing are the common symptoms,” said Anoop Misra, director and head, department of diabetes and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospitals in the capital.

Doctors also expressed concern at the growing instances of childhood obesity.

“There has been an alarming increase in diabetes among children, especially Type 2 diabetes, which is lifestyle-oriented. We need to work together with government, schools, health departments, and civil societies,” said N.K. Pandey, chairman and managing director of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences in Faridabad.

But experts remain optimistic, saying that the disease can be defeated.

“Diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful. It’s never too late to start,” Wangoo said.

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