New Delhi: With early intervention in the pre-diabetes stage, or even after onset of the disease, emerging as a critical factor in checking the growing scourge, it is important for people to recognise the factors and signs that indicate the condition.
Can a layman identify a person who is at risk by just looking at him? Being obese obviously puts one at risk but doctors say your neck could tell you a lot. According to Dr Anoop Misra, an expert on metabolic disorders, a double chin and heavy neck, a double layer of fat at the back of the neck and multiple skin tags over the neck are visual clues indicating a high risk for developing diabetes. “Such people should get their blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure checked,” said Dr Misra, who has authored a book, DiabetesWith Delight. He added the neck circumference is independent from other known indicators such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and family history.
According to Dr Misra, timely detection can help in halting the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes. “Correct diet, physical activity, and sometimes drugs could help in reverting to a normal glucose status. Intensive diet and lifestyle modifications could reverse the blood sugar levels to normal,” he said.
Simply put, diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble turning food into energy. All bodies break down digested food into a sugar called glucose, their main source of fuel. In a healthy person, the hormone, insulin, helps glucose enter the cells. But in a diabetic, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body does not use it properly. Cells starve while glucose builds up in the blood.
There are two predominant types of diabetes. In Type 1, the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In Type 2, which accounts for an estimated 90% to 95% of all cases, either the body’s cells are not sufficiently receptive to insulin or the pancreas makes too little of it, or both.
“Indians have a genetic predisposition to diabetes and nearly 75% of patients with Type 2 diabetes have a first-degree family history of diabetes,” Dr Misra explained.
A study by UK scientists, published recently in The Lancet, has showed diabetes can be reversed with radical weight loss. Similar trials are taking place in India also to fight the disease that affects more than 65 million people in the country. Nearly 8% of the population above 18 years has the condition. This figure, the doctors say, is expected to rise to 100 million by year 2030, second only to China.
Courtesy: Durgesh Nandan Jha, The Times of India