It’s a ticking time bomb, and yet we’re all blissfully unaware or the alarm bells haven’t rung loud enough for you to sit up and take notice that you, too, are at risk.
 

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that “The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. This dramatic rise is largely due to the rise in type 2 diabetes and factors driving it include overweight and obesity."
 

Statistics don’t lie, either. Take a moment to digest this: “In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.”   

 

India and Diabetes:
After China, India stands at 69.1 million – the world’s second highest. From these, over 36 million cases are undiagnosed. And, here’s the kicker: the age range of those afflicted with diabetes is between 20-70 years old. The New Indian Express reports that “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India will have 80 million people with diabetes by 2030.”


Also read:  10 things you should know about diabetes, but you don’t


 

The rise of this so-called “western disease”
No longer a western disease, the rise of Type 2 diabetes, can be attributed to the following reasons.   



 

Lack of exercise:

 



As working professionals, we invariably lead sedentary lifestyles. Coupled with work demands and deliverables, we don’t make time to hit the gym or workout. As a result we neglect our health, and become overweight, and obese.

 



 

Poor diet:
 



Going hand-in-hand with our sedentary lifestyles is our need for immediate gratification. The last thing you want to do is make a meal for yourself post work. So, you naturally turn to ordering in and going out to eat. Plus, sugary beverages and energy drinks or copious amounts of coffee and tea to power through the day are all responsible for your diet going out of whack, and creating accumulated fat internally.  These four food groups increase our risk for diabetes – carbohydrates (the all-white trifecta: white rice, sugar and flour); sugar ( sodas, ice-teas and lemonades) processed and red meats, and saturated fats in dairy. All these food groups contribute to insulin and blood sugar spikes, increased weight gain and high cholesterol.


 

 

Genetics:  
 




Poor lifestyle, aside, you could be genetically predisposed. The New Indian Express reports that “Compared to those in the developed world, middle classes in India and other developing countries are more susceptible to Type-2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, thanks to their undernourished ancestors.” According to asiandiabetesprevention.org, Asians, particularly, are prone to Type 2 diabetes, unlike their western counterpart.  “This higher risk may be because Asians, especially South Asians, are more likely to have less muscle and more abdominal fat, which increases insulin resistance. For example, even though Indian newborns have a lower average body weight compared to white newborns, Indian newborns have higher levels of body fat and insulin.”  

 

 

How this can be prevented:

 


Adopt a conscious and healthy lifestyle by a combination of exercise and diet. As long as you keep your body moving in the form of walks, swims or even yoga, you decrease your chances of getting diabetes. Incorporate a more protein-rich and low-fat diet, and curb your cravings by opting for healthy snacks like an assortment of nuts and vegetable cuts like carrots and cucumber.  Instead of reaching for a sugary beverage, go for an alternative route like yogurt-based smoothies, or fresh fruit juices instead.