One of the banes of dealing with chronic disorders like Type2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity is that patients often ask us, is there any natural way in which I can beat diabetes and obesity? Let me tell you a secret, there is a natural and yet a simple way for better diabetes control. Mind you, it will not ‘cure’ your diabetes and will not make you slim and fit like Bipasha Basu overnight, but yet it will help you control your blood glucose better, help you shed a few extra kilos of weight and most importantly it will make you feel better. What I am proposing is not some kind of miracle or magic but rather a straightforward thing, which you grandparents would have told you millions of time. So are you ready for it?
The secret to diabetes control is "Discipline". Diabetes is a chronic (meaning long-term) disease and you will not have your blood glucose in target range overnight. What is required is "Persistence." The more you persist with your lifestyle and medications, the better your diabetes control would be over a long time. Here are some tips for better diabetes control over a long time:
1. Better Sleep hygiene:
Having a fixed bedtime and fixed time when you wake up helps you with better diabetes control. The human body has a biological ‘clock’ which resides in an area called hypothalamus in your brain. This not only controls times when you get hungry and sleepy but also controls the release of many hormones in your body including insulin (which lowers the blood glucose) and cortisol (stress hormone which increases blood glucose). The more you mess around with your body clock, more likely you are to gain weight, have poor control over your blood sugars and feel depressed. Many studies have shown that people who do not have fixed sleep and awake times and those who are shift workers are more likely to develop diabetes and have poor glycemic control. When I was practising in Delhi, I remember seeing many young people working in call centres in Gurgaon who were diagnosed to have diabetes mellitus at an early age because of erratic sleep patterns and change in lifestyle.
2. The fixed timing for meals:
Fixing your meal times and portions helps your body be better prepared to deal with the sudden surge of nutrition which it is going to receive. Having fixed meal times also reduces the risk of low or high blood glucose in those who take pre-mixed insulin or drugs like Sulphonylurea which reduces blood glucose for many hours.
3. Better discipline with medication timings:
In my own experience, I have seen that those who take their medications at the same time every day rarely miss their medications and hence over a long time have better control over their diabetes.
4. Stick to ‘one’ qualified doctor:
Many people know very well that they are gaining weight and have symptoms of diabetes, yet they ignore this for a long time. When they eventually are diagnosed to have diabetes mellitus, they want a ‘quick-fix from their doctor for overnight control of diabetes. We all know that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and an overnight control of diabetes with relapse within a few months again is not the solution to the problem. What is required is longterm good control of diabetes? For this, you need to stick and persists with a doctor who is treating you. Changing doctors and forms of therapy from modern medicine to Complimentary alternative medicine (Ayurvedic, homoeopathic etc) is not the solution. The solution is to stick to one doctor whom you feel you can trust. If you an unsure whom to consult, Endocrinologists are the doctors who are experts in diabetes care and are well versed with all forms of treatment modalities for diabetes mellitus. So don’t look for a quick fix and stick toone doctor for long term will help you with better diabetes control.
5. Make small changes:
One of the best ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle is to make small changes to your life every week. I encourage my patients to maintain a diary and every Sunday evening they should write down one thing they want to change over the course of the week. For example, they can take a pledge of not having any sugary drinks over the course of the week. Small changes and one change at a time are easy to follow and once you get in the habit of successfully following small changes, it becomes part of your life.
Your good health is your greatest asset, hence preserve it well. Good luck.