Diabetes is one of the globally concerning health conditions with an increasing prevalence. As per the International Diabetes Federation, about 535 million individuals are affected by diabetes worldwide. When considering the UAE, the number reported goes above 9 million.
The staggering prevalence of diabetes calls for immediate attention as it affects both life quality and longevity. Awareness plays a significant role in managing a chronic condition like diabetes. Empower yourself with education on diabetes to take timely action if necessary.
Diabetes: Causes and symptoms
Dr Kingini Bhadran, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Al Qusais explains diabetes is a chronic condition and may arise due to several causes, depending on the type of diabetes. While genetics play a major role, lifestyle and environmental factors are also significant contributors.
The warning signs may include a frequent urge to urinate, excessive thirst, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, slow wound healing, reduced vision, and tingling sensations.
If the signs and symptoms you experience are persistent, it is time to visit your doctor for a medical evaluation. However, it’s common for individuals to not experience any of these symptoms, which can make this disease even more concerning.
Regular health checks are crucial for early diagnosis and care. Early screenings can help manage diabetes effectively. Over the years, we have been fortunate to have a wide array of medications and insulins suiting your body habitus and your daily routine.
Research has also proven the possibility of remission or diabetes reversal. Hence a timely diagnosis and personalised management can change the life of a diabetic person in a positive direction.
Type 1 vs type 2 diabetes
Dr Velmurugan Mannar, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Dubai Silicon Oasis differentiates type 1 and type 2 diabetes in terms of their causes, onset, and treatment approaches.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition caused by the destruction of beta cells of the pancreas which produces insulin. It often develops during early childhood but can occur at later stages of life too. One cannot prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.
Currently, the only treatment available is the administration of insulin using injections or pumps. Not taking insulin in type 1 diabetes can lead to a life-threatening illness called diabetic ketoacidosis.
Type 2 diabetes occurs predominantly in adults and the elderly population but can occur in children too. The main causes of developing type 2 diabetes are excessive weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.
In contrast to type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by keeping one’s weight under control and having routine physical activity. In people with excessive weight gain, losing weight has a tremendous impact in decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Treatment of Type 2 diabetes includes lifestyle changes, oral medications and sometimes insulin.
What drives the risk of developing diabetes?
Dr Manoj V Gedam, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Al Khail Mall (Al Quoz) & Jumeirah Lakes Towers highlights some of the common risk factors for diabetes are family history, age and genetics. He further explains that as far as type 1 diabetes is concerned, not much evidence is available to state the other risk factors.
Meanwhile, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and certain existing health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in females, etc. are some of the known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
The team at Aster Clinics consists of experienced physicians, diabetologists (diabetes specialists), endocrinologists, and other specialised doctors to manage overall diabetic care, including complications that may arise because of diabetes.
Role and impact of lifestyle on diabetes
Dr Maneesha Pandey, Consultant Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai, AJMC says that among the multiple factors influencing your diabetic health, lifestyle plays a fundamental role. Poor lifestyle choices such as an unhealthy diet, not doing enough exercise, stress management, and not sleeping enough can significantly impact your efforts in managing diabetes.
While type 1 diabetes can only be treated with insulin administration, regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet that suits your health condition are also important.
Type 2 diabetes often referred to as a lifestyle condition, makes exercise and dietary changes necessary for improved management. Research also shows that following a healthy and proactive lifestyle may help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, especially for those at risk of developing it.
Diabetes in adults vs children
Dr Chakra Diwaker, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Discovery Gardens says diabetes is a condition that can occur in individuals of any age. However, the onset, management and psychological impact may differ between different age groups.
Diabetes that occurs in childhood is generally type 1 and genetic which gave it the name “juvenile diabetes”. Whereas in adults, type 2 diabetes is more prevalent and occurs as a result of poor lifestyle habits.
Meanwhile, paediatric diabetic care involves attention along with a family-centric approach whereas adult diabetic care focuses more on self-management. However, it is important to note that type 2 diabetes may also happen in children due to risk factors such as obesity.
What’s new in diabetes treatment?
Dr Prakash Pania, Consultant Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC) says several new advancements have emerged over the years in the effort to help manage diabetes effectively.
Some of the common and efficient management techniques include continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), advanced insulin pumps, oral and injectable medications, and targeted therapies.
Advanced treatments and therapies are continuously evolving to help improve the dynamics and care of diabetes and its complications. The doctors at Aster Clinics are well-equipped with the expertise to deal with all types of diabetes efficiently.
Is preventing the onset of diabetes possible?
Dr Arvind Gaddameedi, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Al Muteena, Deira says that currently there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. A major reason is type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition resulting from the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking and destroying the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. The scientists are continuously working on ways to slow down this progression.
Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes being often associated with lifestyle factors, can be prevented effectively with the help of proactive efforts. Maintaining a healthy weight along with a healthy balanced diet, regularly exercising, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, managing stress with mindfulness and yoga, and regularly going for health check-ups can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The diabetes specialists and the rest of the medical team at Aster Clinics are experienced and highly professional. Each patient is provided with a personalised treatment course as per their body’s requirements at Aster Clinics.
Dietary considerations for diabetes management
Dr Roula Bou Khalil, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Al Warqa says diet plays a vital role as it directly affects blood sugar levels and overall health.
Monitoring carbohydrate intake, aiming for a balanced diet, opting for healthy fats, limiting sugary and processed foods, avoiding meal skipping, and staying well hydrated by drinking water are some of the dietary considerations you should take care of.
It is highly advisable to get in touch with a doctor or a dietician to plan a personalised diet plan suitable for your health needs and lifestyle. You can also visit our Dietetics experts for a customised diet plan.
Snacks for diabetic diet
Dr. Asif Majid Khan, Specialist Endocrinologist at Aster Clinic, Al Warqa, says in diabetes, it is extremely crucial to consider the glycaemic index in the diet. The glycaemic index can be understood as the numeric value that determines how much a food item on consumption affects your blood sugar levels.
Some of the low glycaemic index snacking options for the evening can be:
1. Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, etc.
2. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.
3. Greek yoghurt that is plain and unsweetened.
4. Hard-boiled eggs.
5. Hummus with whole grain crackers.
Manage diabetes with Aster
Aster Clinics offers comprehensive diabetes care with the help of conventional practices, empathy, and a patient-centric approach. Recognising the role of lifestyle in diabetes management, the medical teams at Aster take a holistic approach to personalised lifestyle plans.
Education also plays a crucial role in managing any chronic condition like diabetes. Our aim is not only to treat the patients but to empower them with the knowledge they require to keep track of their condition.
For appointments call us on
04 4400500 or download myAster app