Importance of taking care of diet and lifestyle

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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A conversation, as part of P&G Health’s initiative ‘Ask your doctor’, reveals the early symptoms, causes, and effective ways to effectively manage diabetes.

At one point, diabetes was synonymous with the older generation. Today, the scenario is rather different, with people across age groups contracting the condition. As per statistics revealed by International Diabetes Federation’s IDF Atlas in 2019, about 77 million people in India suffer from diabetes. Unfortunately, the reality could be far worse, because official figures go on to say that 1 in every 2 adults living with diabetes often go undiagnosed.

That’s not all — with diabetes, there is a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, stroke, heart failure and nerve damage. But the good news is that this lifestyle disease can be effectively managed with the help of diet, exercise and medication, as well as supplementation with vitamins and minerals.

The moderator, Sakshi Mandwal, as part of P&G Health’s initiative ‘Ask your doctor’, had a chat with Dr Sanjay Kalra, Current President-Elect of South Asian Federation of Endocrine Society (SAFES) and Consultant, Bharti Hospital, Karnal, and Mr Milind Thatte, MD, P&G Health India, to discuss the various causes and early symptoms of diabetes. They also spoke about some simple ways to manage diabetes effectively.

Early symptoms of diabetes

Dr Kalra termed diabetes as ‘an emergency in slow motion’, which is the reason most people do not pay much attention. Although most symptoms do not present themselves before it’s too late, there are certain warning signs.

These include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Frequent infections

The most common causes

Dr Kalra highlights that there can be various kinds of diabetes, most common being type-2 diabetes. “Of course, there is a genetic component, so even if one parent has diabetes, your chances of getting it are more. There is also something called type 1 diabetes, which is more common in children. But they can also develop type 2 diabetes,” he added.

Diabetes and associated complications

Dr Kalra emphasised on the need to manage diabetes effectively, because it doesn’t just affect the pancreas, but the entire body. “When you have glucose circulating in the blood in high concentrations, that blood will bathe the body from head to toe. So, any organ can get impacted,” he explained.

Earlier this year, P&G Health undertook India’s first Nerve Health Awareness Survey that revealed that diabetic complications like peripheral neuropathy impacts up to 50% of the diabetic patients.

Explaining this initiative in detail, Mr Milind Thatte shared, “It was an effort to create awareness about nerve health, and empower people to recognise early symptoms of B vitamin deficiency and how this can be overcome through a balanced diet as well as additional supplementation. While diabetes is known to have an impact on nerve health, only 13% of the respondents associated diabetes with nerve damage.”

Vitamin and mineral supplementation to combat diabetes

“When it comes to our company’s objective, we are India’s leading vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturing company. We manufacture and market prescription and non-prescription supplements that improve the lifestyle and quality of life,” shared Mr Thatte.

Dr Kalra added that although vitamins are an integral part of our diet, the upper socio-economic strata are deficient in vitamins B12 and D. “We need to optimise our nutrient status, so this is a wake up call for all of us,” he said.

P&G Health has a dedicated portfolio which includes supplements for Vitamin B and Vitamin E. As a leader in Nerve Care with its flagship brand Neurobion, P&G Health has been working to raise awareness on the symptoms of Nerve Health as well as effective management of the same. Vitamin E is another nutrient that’s equally important, although it is largely associated with skin nourishment. P&G’s Evion has been around for decades now, and is one of the most preferred by consumers today. “When it comes to the role of antioxidants, it helps in the neutralisation of free radicals, and reduces the associated tissue damage. A company like ours emphasises on quality checks, so Evion before it reaches the market has passed 50 quality checks,” explains Mr Thatte.

Awareness is key

Dr Kalra believes that consuming a healthy diet, following an exercise regime, and having supplements do not just help us maintain health, but also ensure we have a long life. At the same time, one MUST keep themselves safe from air pollution.

“Don’t stress yourself too much, avoid substance abuse, sleep well, and be happy,” he added.

Awareness is critical, believes Mr Thatte.

“At P&G Health, our endeavor is towards raising patient and consumer awareness to help them recognize early symptoms and seek timely treatment” he concluded.

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