Couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to attend an international conference on hypertension and diabetes at Mumbai. It was organized by a leading endocrinologist and diabetologist of Mumbai.
Eminent specialists from that field from all over India and abroad attended this meet. Recent advances in the field of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes were discussed at length.
I wish to share with you all some of the important take home messages from this meeting which I feel are very useful for the general public. It can also help those who suffer from these disorders helping them to lead a happy and healthy life.
Points From The Meet
1. India is the diabetic hub of the world. It is estimated that there are 70 million people with diabetes in the country and twice the number of individuals with prediabetes.
It is also estimated that by the year 2020 this number will rise to about 90 million and to 160 million by 2040! Such is the prevalence of this disease.
So, what can be done to reduce this number? How can we help those who are already suffering from it to stay healthy? How can we protect them from developing a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure?
2. Every fifth Indian suffers from diabetes or hypertension
3. Indians eat more sweets and consume more salt than in any other country.
4. Both sugar and salt are the two main culprits in the development of hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease. Together, they lead to kidney failure.
Diabetes and hypertension by themselves or in combination cause thickening of blood vessels called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis leads to narrowing of the blood vessel lumen and finally blockage of the vessel.
The blood vessels that are blocked are mainly in the brain, heart, limb vessels, eye vessels and the kidney vessels. Damage to these vessels can lead to stroke, heart attacks, leg ischemia, blindness and kidney failure respectively.
What Can You Do?
What can be done to prevent the development of vascular damage, prevent the progression of vascular disease and its subsequent complications?
First and foremost is lifestyle modification.
a) Stop smoking
b) Follow a healthy diet that is low in salt and sugar
c) Those with diabetes must maintain fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 120mg/dL and post food levels around 140 to 160mg/dL. The average HbA1c should be less than 7% with a average blood sugar of 140 – 150 mg/dl.
d) Take regular exercise and maintain a normal body weight and BMI around 24.
e) Maintain a blood pressure of 120-140 systolic and 80-90 diastolic.
f) Take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Organ damage due to diabetes and hypertension is irreversible. It is very common to get complications unless you stick to the guidelines mentioned above.
Blood fats or lipids need equal or more attention. Safe blood cholesterol is less than 175 mg and triglyceride is 125mg.
Statins are recommended for all individuals with diabetes with or with out hypertension, irrespective of their blood lipid levels.
Prevention of diabetes and hypertension should start at a very young age of 25 years. Try to identify these diseases early by regular checking your blood sugar levels.
Blood pressure checks must be done at least once in 3 months. Once detected, follow the above guidelines mentioned.
If you achieve these, you can prevent complications and enjoy a long and healthy life.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Good Luck!!
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