Three months later, he was back at the hospital with gangrene in his foot, a complication of high blood sugar levels. The promise of reversing diabetes with alternative therapies may sound enticing for many diabetics who have to take insulin every day. Endocrinologists, however, say that they have only seen diabetics return with complications if they go off insulin and try other therapies. There has been an increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes among the young but most are reluctant or lazy to take insulin, say doctors.
“Diabetes is not a disease but a metabolic disorder. Acceptance of the problem is the first step to dealing with it. Many patients think that mere changes in food habits and taking alternative therapy can control diabetes but that’s impossible. Lifestyle correction is a must, but one cannot stop insulin intake.Not taking insulin leads to formation of ulcers, infections and high sugar levels. We see two to three such cases every week,” said Dr Veeranna Gowdar, incharge director, Karnataka Institute of Diabetology. The institute treats more than 4,500 diabetic patients from across the state every month.
“The gold standard is to exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle, not stop insulin intake without consulting doctors,” explained Dr Ramana Rao, a city-based consultant physician and cardiologist. Each person’s sugar levels are different, and it is wiser to be conservative when it comes to diabetes treatment. “Interventional measures to reverse diabetes at one go may be harmful,” he said.
Dr Chitra Selvan, assistant professor at M S Ramaiah Hospital said many patients want to avopid daily insulin pricks and hence try alternative therapies.
“The mean age of Type 2 diabetes was 40 to 60 years in the last decade. Now, an increasing number of cases are seen in the 30 to 50 age group. Weight loss, urinary tract infection and foot wounds should not be ignored,” she said. There is no escape from lifestyle modifications and an hour of exercise a day is a must, she added.
Sugar is the new tobacco, experts, medical studies and health organizations have declared. And India, with more than 65 million people with diabetes, is a country that should take this declaration to heart.Studies have found that nine out of 10 people with diabetes believe that their blood sugar levels are under control even though they is not. Diabetes isn’t deadly, it just needs regular monitoring and medication and disciplined living. Regular exercise and healthy eating are the only ways to control blood sugar levels and stay fit.