How to prevent diabetes?

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Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by chronic hyper­glycemia (increase in blood glucose level). It leads to variety of complications like cardiovascular, renal, neurological and ocular problems.

Types of diabetes:

The two important types of diabetes mellitus are:

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1. Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM, type 1).

2. Non – insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM, Type 2).

Type 1 diabetes (IDDM) is usually seen in young individuals of less than 30 years of age. It is lethal unless promptly diagnosed and treated.

Type 2 diabetes (NIDDM) is more common than Type 1. It occurs in middle aged and old people. It can be controlled by adequate treatment.

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Causes for diabetes:

The important causes of diabetes are:

1. Pancreatic diseases, defect in the synthesis of insulin or decrease in the number of beta cells.

2. Heredity is also a contributory factor for diabetes.

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3. Sedentary life style and lack of exercise.

4. Diet rich in carbohydrates and fats.

5. Obesity is a known risk factor for diabetes.

6. Infections with viruses like rubella and mumps.

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7. Social factors like occupation, marital status, education, economic status and changes in life – style.

Prevention and control

1. Maintenance of normal body weight by exercise and dietary habits (adequate protein intake and intake of dietary fiber).

2. Avoidance of risk factors like smoking, alcohol and oral contraceptives.

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3. Treatment with insulin or oral antidiuretic drugs.

4. Self care like checking urine and blood sugar level, adherence to diet and drugs and attending periodic check – ups.

5. Diabetic clinics which can be established for diagnosis and management of diabetes.

NATIONAL DIABETES CONTROL PROGRAMME

It was launched in 1987 as a centrally sponsored health pro­gramme. On a pilot basis it was started in the districts of Salem and South Arcot in Tamil Nadu and also in Jammu and Kashmir.

Objectives

1. Identification of high risk individuals 2. Early diagnosis 3. Management and prevention of diabetes

Future plan

The aim is to develop an appropriate model for the care and control of diabetes at district level. It was planned to extend the programme to all districts in different states.

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