DIABETES IS WHAT YOU CAN FIGHT YOURSELF
Diabetes is predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030. About 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80 per cent of them occurring in low and middle-income countries. Over time, high blood sugars can wreak havoc on every major organ system in the body, causing heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, impotence and infections that can lead to amputations. But, if properly treated, the impact of diabetes can be minimised. Even people with type 1 diabetes can live long and lead healthy lives if they keep their blood sugars under tight control. Making a few lifestyle changes can dramatically lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. Maintaining normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of diabetes. For diabetic diet, one should choose whole grains and whole grain products over highly processed carbohydrates. There is a convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk. Whole grains don’t contain a magical nutrient that fights diabetes and improves health. It’s the entire package-elements intact and working together-that’s important. The bran and fibre in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose. This leads to lower, slower increases in blood sugar and insulin, and a lower glycemic index. One has to skip sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee, or tea instead. Sugary beverages have a high glycemic load, and drinking more of this sugary stuff is associated with increased risk of diabetes. One has to choose good fats instead of bad ones. The types of fats in diet can also affect the development of diabetes. Good fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes. Tran’s fats do just the opposite. These bad fats are found in much margarine, packaged baked goods, fried foods in most fast-food restaurants, and any product that lists ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil’ on the label. One has to limit red meat and avoid processed meat, choose nuts, whole grains, poultry, or fish instead. A large proportion of diabetes cases are preventable. Efforts to prevent and treat diabetes will be important to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goal 3 target of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030. Many sectors of society have a role to play, including governments, employers, educators, manufacturers, civil society, private sector, the media and individuals themselves. Bangladesh has a high concentration of diabetic patients. Diabetes has become a national health concern in Bangladesh but treatment and control are quite low. Improving detection, awareness, and treatment strategies is urgently needed to prevent the growing burden associated with diabetes in our country. If these patients are treated and educated properly the disease can be controlled and they may be able to lead normal lives and be useful to their families. So we need more engagement, partnership, ownership from private and public sectors and NGOs. Coordinated international and national policies are needed to reduce exposure to the known risk factors for diabetes and to improve access to and quality of care.
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