Healthy lifestyle: winter care tips for diabetics
“The recurring waves of the pandemic have diverted significant health resources to address an impending challenge. As a result, other important diseases like diabetes, which according to the International Diabetes Federation report affects more than 537 million adults worldwide, are neglected. So much so, to a greater extent, our focus on diabetes management has also waned, and many patients are compensating for Covid fatigue with unhealthy lifestyle practices,” says Dr. Banshi Saboo, President of the Diacare Diabetes Hormone Clinic Ahmedabad, Secretary Diabetes India and Dr Amit Gupta. , Director of Diabetes Care Center, Greater Noida and Joint Secretary Diabetes India.
The expert adds that India is poised to become the diabetes capital of the world, home to over 74 million diabetes patients. “The National Family Health Survey-5 indicates that 17.1% of the adult Indian population suffers from high blood sugar and requires medication to control it. Endemic non-communicable disease is a lifestyle-related disease, in which the blood sugar level of the human body rises due to its inability to produce or properly use insulin,” they say.
Pandemic or not, diabetic patients have to be overly cautious in winter.
Common challenges faced by people with diabetes in winter
With a drop in temperature, blood sugar (HbA1C, i.e. the three-month average of blood sugar and random blood sugar) tends to increase during the winter months. Consumption of comfort foods (high in carbohydrates and sugar) increases during winters and leads to high sugar levels.
“Exercising on cold winter mornings is difficult. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with limited physical activity can raise blood sugar levels because the body is unable to process glucose. not feel thirsty and as a result, fluid intake decreases rapidly.As a result, blood sugar levels rise in the body and increase the frequency of urination, leading to further dehydration,” they explain.
What should people with diabetes do?
As winter is a time when blood sugar patients need to take more care of their health, the following tips are advised as suggested by Dr. Saboo and Dr. Gupta:
Monitor your blood sugar regularly: People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar regularly and it is advisable to keep a glucometer close at hand. Check your fasting, postprandial, and random blood glucose periodically. Take advantage of new apps and devices like the BeatO Curv smartphone-connected blood glucose meter and other monitoring devices like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre Continuous Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter that help you record and maintain readings so that, if needed, you can consult your physician with these records.
Observe your feet: It is estimated that around 10-15% of people with uncontrolled diabetes need to see a doctor because of a foot ulcer or infection, which can become very serious and require amputation. Therefore, people with diabetes should take care of their feet by wearing well-cushioned socks and shoes and give their feet proper attention. Also, the skin tends to become drier due to low humidity in cold weather and is more susceptible to developing cracks and infections. Apply moisturizer to keep dry skin at bay.
Hydration: It is important for everyone, and especially for diabetic patients, to be well hydrated. If people spend a lot of time indoors in a hot environment due to indoor heaters, it is all the more important to drink water; because indoor heaters draw moisture from the air, which can lead to fluctuations in body temperature.
Exercise: Especially during the pandemic, our life has become more sedentary due to limited outdoor activities. It can actually have an adverse effect on blood sugar levels and long-term blood sugar control. So it becomes very important for patients with lifestyle diseases to practice 30-minute freehand exercises, stretching or any sports activity even indoors or practice yoga. During the winter, it becomes all the more important to exercise as physical training decreases even more at this time.
Diet. The sedentary, indoor lifestyle during these times of COVID has led to binge eating or unnecessary snacking. To control diabetes, portion control and adherence to a strict diet are essential. Also include seasonal vegetables and fruits which keep the body warm and add necessary nutrients to our body. Carrots, beets, fenugreek leaves, and spinach are vegetables that can provide needed energy and help in the maintenance of blood vessels and maintain proper blood flow.
In winter, in India, there is a tradition of eating seasonal sweets specially made with jaggery. It is important to know that the sugar content of jaggery is almost the same as that of white sugar. Regular or seasonal consumption can lead to sugar spikes disrupting overall metabolic control.
“Managing diabetes is not that difficult. By paying just a little attention to our health, leading a healthy lifestyle, regularly monitoring our blood sugar levels and taking the medications prescribed by our doctor, we can ensure that it never becomes a major challenge during the winters or beyond. they say.
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