Earn Your Coffee Break

A few, not-so-hard lifestyle changes can help you prevent and deal with diabetes
Team BT   New Delhi     Print Edition: December 3, 2017
Earn Your Coffee Break

The approach differs for those who have diabetes and those keen on preventing it. So, what can you do at home and at work? Those who are already coping with it have to ensure that regular treatment continues. It is important to monitor the HbA1C or glycated haemoglobin targets. It is medical jargon for a picture of the average (a three month average test) blood sugar level and should be kept ideally below 7 per cent to ensure one does not end up with complications. Along with this, ensure blood pressure and lipids are under control. Doing this, more or less, ensures gateway to a normal healthy life. For them and for all others, here is the key aspect: it is time to regulate lifestyle, which means eat healthy and exercise everyday. Practice some relaxation techniques (you could consider meditation in the morning). At the workplace, cut down on the in-take of carbohydrates while increasing the share of vegetables and proteins in your diet.

It is important to remember, says Dr V. Mohan, an expert on diabetes and the co-Founder of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre (his wife Dr M. Rema, is the other founder), that one teaspoon of sugar contains five grams of sugar, which means 20 calories. "If you take 3 or five spoons in a day, its 60 to 100 calories . But what really hits is the colas. Typically, a can of aerated beverage or a sweetened fruit juice contains 12 to 14 spoons of sugar. So, two cans is about 30 spoonfuls of sugar. Instead, fresh fruits make more sense, for they also provide fibre and store anti-oxidants," says Dr Mohan.

Here is a simple mantra from him to fight diabetes. "In our meetings, instead of a coffee break, we take a 'mobility break'. Here, we have a physical trainer, who works with you so you can earn your coffee with a mix of spot running, stretching, bending. You need to earn your coffee break."

 

The Pricing Challenge

Why take costly drugs for fighting diabetes when there are cheaper versions available that serve the same purpose? The cost differential is huge: the cheapest cost a rupee or two and the costliest close to `50. Diabetes expert Dr V. Mohan argues that the focus should be on how to make the costlier ones more accessible to all as they do serve a purpose. But while prescribing them, also offer the alternative cheaper options to patients. Here are some of the benefits of the pricey drugs. For instance, the new class of Sodium-glucose Cotransporter-2 inhibitors work through the kidney but produce weight loss, as compared to some of the older drugs that increase body weight. Some of the other newer ones include the GLP-1 analogues, that also reduce weight. Those that work through the kidney, inhibit the process of kidney re-absorbing the glucose and in some cases, even help prevent heart attacks also. But the doctor has a word of caution and says they should not be used indiscriminately and administered keeping in mind the suitability to the patient. But many of these would be about 20 times more expensive than the basic drugs. It may add upto `1,500 a month to your budget, which not all can afford.

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