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Blood Sugar Myths Vs Facts

Diabetes is preventable with certain lifestyle changes, and the first step to that is awareness. Chennai-based diabetologist Dr G Swaminathan arms you with facts to beat the odds.

I won't get diabetes because neither of my parents had it.

No doubt, there is a genetic link in diabetes: if your mom, dad, sister or brother has it, you have a higher chance of developing it. But the reverse is not true: lifestyle plays a huge role in diabetes. Unhealthy food habits, being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle, too much stress and too little sleep, all put you at risk. The good news is that changing your lifestyle can lower your risk.

I'm not overweight, I can't get diabetes.

Being overweight is a major risk factor for diabetes. But your waist size may be just as important in determining risk, regardless of your weight. Central obesity means you have more visceral fat. That's the stubborn, dangerous sort of fat, which is a strong predictor of insulin resistance. In fact, Indians are particularly at risk: they have lower lean body mass and higher fat percentage compared to Westerners, plus central obesity is very common among Indians. If you are a woman, keep your waist size at 33 inches or less; men should aim for 35 inches or less.

I have pre-diabetes, I will get diabetes soon.

Studies indicate that without intervention, most people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. But there is hope. There are studies to show that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the development of diabetes by 30-50% through changes in lifestyle, including modest weight loss (as little as 5 to 7%) and increasing physical exercise. So work with your doctor to develop a healthy lifestyle plan that includes eating healthy, exercising, managing your weight and watching your inches, getting enough sleep and cutting stress. Remember to keep at it so diabetes doesn't catch up with you.

by Kathakoli Dasgupta