When sugar is bitter

watch out
Last Updated 23 September 2016, 18:37 IST

It’s a competitive world out there and we see number of youngsters starting their own ventures every day.

Risk is no longer a deterrent as the young today believe in taking them and succeeding anyway. The role played by a healthy body in their day-to-day activities and subsequently their success cannot be denied. As they say, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.

One major health concern that is seen to be affecting many youngsters today is type 2 diabetes. This is the root cause of all other conditions that may arise with age, such as cardiac, kidney, retinal or nerve diseases.

While the condition is more common among the middle-aged to the elderly, it remains unnoticed among youth as the symptoms are mild. Hence, it is imperative to understand type 2 diabetes so that you can identify the symptoms and nip it in the bud.

Spot the signs

When affected by type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin that is produced naturally by the pancreas when you eat. Insulin helps transport sugar from your blood stream to the cells.

Sugar is the main source of energy for the body and the only source of energy for the brain. As the body becomes resistant to insulin, it stops using the hormone efficiently. As a result, the pancreas has to work harder to release more insulin that eventually leads to damaged cells. Further, as the pancreas is unable produce any insulin, it results in glucose building up in your blood stream. This leaves you feeling tired and lethargic.

How does one identify the symptoms of type 2 diabetes? An increased level of tiredness after a day’s work is one of the first symptoms. Youngsters are generally fitter and healthier, but when you feel like taking rest more often than usual, consider it a warning signal.

Few other significant symptoms include increased hunger, blurred vision, slow  healing of wounds, tingling and numbness in hands and feet, and weight loss. Family history of type 2 diabetes is yet another factor that one needs to be cautious about. However, this does not mean that you will certainly be affected but just that there is a high possibility of you becoming diabetic if your parents or grandparents are affected.

As in many cases, the major cause of most of the diseases is unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise. Consuming high-fat food with less nutrients increases the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.

The consumption of junk food, if not completely avoided, should be controlled to a great extent. While the influx of gadgets in our lives has certainly been a boon, the increased dependency on them has had a negative impact on our health.

Nowadays, one seldom sees youngsters indulging in outdoor activities, while most of them have a gadget in their hands to fiddle with. As a result, there is a lack of physical activity among them.

Not just the heart

It is common knowledge that diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease. But there are also other significant organs of the body that are severely affected. Not many know that kidney failure is a major consequence of diabetes. If symptoms such as blurred vision are not picked up or ignored, it can even lead to impaired vision and eventually blindness.

The longer a person has diabetes, more the chances of retinal damage. Diabetes can also result in nerve damage, especially in the feet, which can lead to foot ulcers and the eventual need for amputation (surgical removal of a limb).


Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some steps that you can take in that direction:

Include more nutrients in your diet and restrict high-fat foods.
Choose whole grains and whole grain products over processed carbohydrates.
Get regular physical exercise like walking, running or yoga to maintain healthy body weight.
Avoid high-sugar foods.
Take regular meals spread evenly. throughout the day.
Take at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day.

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is not a communicable disease; or it would have become the number one epidemic faced by the world. Understanding the warning signals and taking preventive measures will help curb the risk of the ailment.

The mantra to live a hale and hearty life is quite simple – healthy meals and regular physical exercise.

(The author is consultant, endocrinology, diabetes & bariatrics medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru)

(Published 23 September 2016, 15:51 IST)

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