Workshop on Diabetes
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
Fast facts on diabetes
Here are some key points about diabetes. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- Diabetes is a long-term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.
- In 2013 it was estimated that over 382 million people throughout the world had diabetes
- Type 1 Diabetes – the body does not produce insulin. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
- Type 2 Diabetes – the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.
- Gestational Diabetes – this type affects females during pregnancy.
- The most common diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, intense thirst and hunger, weight gain, unusual weight loss, fatigue, cuts and bruises that do not heal, male sexual dysfunction, numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
- If you have Type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life.
- Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels.
- As the risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for a diabetic, it is crucial that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are monitored regularly.
- As smoking might have a serious effect on cardiovascular health, diabetics should stop smoking.
- Hypoglycemia – low blood glucose – can have a bad effect on the patient. Hyperglycemia – when blood glucose is too high – can also have a bad effect on the patient.
There are three types of diabetes:
1) Type 1 Diabetes
The body does not produce insulin. Some people may refer to this type as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. People usually develop type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years.
Type 1 diabetes is nowhere near as common as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
Patients with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.
2) Type 2 Diabetes
The body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin (insulin resistance).
Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.
Measuring the glucose level in blood
Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease – it gradually gets worse – and the patient will probably end up have to take insulin, usually in tablet form.
Overweight and obese people have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight. People with a lot of visceral fat, also known as central obesity, belly fat, or abdominal obesity, are especially at risk. Being overweight/obese causes the body to release chemicals that can destabilize the body’s cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is also greater as we get older. Experts are not completely sure why, but say that as we age we tend to put on weight and become less physically active. Those with a close relative who had/had type 2 diabetes, people of Middle Eastern, African, or South Asian descent also have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Men whose testosterone levels are low have been found to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
3) Gestational Diabetes
This type affects females during pregnancy. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood, and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin to transport all of the glucose into their cells, resulting in progressively rising levels of glucose.
Diagnosis of gestational diabetes is made during pregnancy.
The majority of gestational diabetes patients can control their diabetes with exercise and diet. Between 10% to 20% of them will need to take some kind of blood-glucose-controlling medications. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can raise the risk of complications during childbirth. The baby may be bigger than he/she should be.
What Is Prediabetes?
The vast majority of patients with type 2 diabetes initially had prediabetes. Their blood glucose levels where higher than normal, but not high enough to merit a diabetes diagnosis. The cells in the body are becoming resistant to insulin.
Studies have indicated that even at the prediabetes stage, some damage to the circulatory system and the heart may already have occurred.
Diabetes Is A Metabolism Disorder
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is classed as a metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood – it is the principal source of fuel for our bodies.
When our food is digested, the glucose makes its way into our bloodstream. Our cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present – insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells, as soon as glucose enters the cells blood-glucose levels drop.
A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. This excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements.
Complications linked to badly controlled diabetes:
- Eye complications– glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and some others.
- Foot complications– neuropathy, ulcers, and sometimes gangrene which may require that the foot be amputated
- Skin complications– people with diabetes are more susceptible to skin infections and skin disorders
- Heart problems– such as ischemic heart disease, when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished
- Hypertension– common in people with diabetes, which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke
- Mental health– uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders
- Hearing loss– diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing hearing problems
- Gum disease– there is a much higher prevalence of gum disease among diabetes patients
- Gastroparesis– the muscles of the stomach stop working properly
- Ketoacidosis– a combination of ketosis and acidosis; accumulation of ketone bodies and acidity in the blood.
- Neuropathy– diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which can lead to several different problems.
- HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome)– blood glucose levels shoot up too high, and there are no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.
- Nephropathy– uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney disease
- PAD (peripheral arterial disease)– symptoms may include pain in the leg, tingling and sometimes problems walking properly
- Stroke– if blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels are not controlled, the risk of stroke increases significantly
- Erectile dysfunction– male impotence.
- Infections– people with badly controlled diabetes are much more susceptible to infections
- Healing of wounds– cuts and lesions take much longer to heal
Yoga & Diabetes:
An increasing number of people with diabetes mellitus are turning to yoga in an effort to keep their condition under control and improve overall quality of life.
It is well known that regular practice of yoga can help reduce levels of stress, enhance mobility, lower blood pressure and improve overall wellbeing.
It is these benefits that many health experts believe can improve diabetes management and protect against other related medical conditions such as heart disease.
Yoga is a series of mental, physical and spiritual disciplines that originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago.
The practice of yoga helps to co-ordinate the breath, mind and body to promote relaxation, develop breath awareness and provide a sense of inner peace.
It involves various body postures and movements (known as asanas), breathing techniques and meditation, which are all designed to promote physical comfort and mental composure.
There are several forms of yoga, but in the west the most widely taught form is Hatha Yoga.
Jagriti Yoga Institute attends to every aspect of an asana from start to finish, as well as the breath-work. So correct training is essential, before individual practice. The following asanas and pranayamas are effective for diabetes. They should be learned with proper guidance, before putting them into practice:
- Mandukasan (the version with fists in stomach region)
- Supta Vajrasan
- Viprit karni – Sarvangasan – Halasan – Sarvangasan
- Lie down and relax for a minute
- Natrajasan (both legs on one side)
- Purna Shalabhasan
- Triyak Bhujangasan
- Upward facing dog (Udharmukh swan asan)
- Child pose
- Udiyan Bandh
- Parvatasan-Yog Mudra
- Kapalbhati Nadisodhan pranayam .