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Diabetes - Knowledge Saves Lives

Diabetes and physical activity

Sitting long hours in front of the computer
Sitting for long hours in front of the computer can invite a multitude of illnesses. Since last 10 years I have been observing the strange onset of very high levels of blood pressure and also diabetes and illnesses like heart attack, joint pains etc. in young individuals. Unusual because the usual onset of such life style disorders used to be after the age of 50 or 60 years in the past. This indirectly means those working long hours in front of the computer without much of a physical activity are prone for an accelerated aging process and early onset of age related lifestyle illnesses. Yesterday I happened to see a 36 year old individual a man with a body mass index of 59, height 171cm and weight 173 kg. He couldn’t even sit in the usual chairs in my hospital. In his younger days he used to swim for one hour everyday. But now his job is a highly stressed one with targets at time frames. And that too attending to the emails only and working for 10-16 hours daily. On evaluation, apart from morbid obesity as a disease, he had very high levels of blood sugar, very high levels of cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides and even personally complaints of loss of interest in sex and a diminished arousal and erection.

Many individuals complaint of memory loss and stress of such interactions along with the stress due to job and various time frames add on to frequent snacking. Stress and psychological disorders by itself are known to produce weight gain and illnesses due to obesity. Most of the young individuals with obesity will have very high levels of fasting insulin in the blood and the hyperinsulinemia by itself is a risk factor for heart disease. Obesity and high insulin levels itself can result in tiredness and hunger due to low sugars, again leading to increased intake of food. This in turn impairs the normal physiology and is a vicious circle. These young professionals will have work during the night or will have dinner late in the night again, before the computer or before the television and the tiredness and the stress will result in intake of more of food and that to calorie rich unhealthy food.

HbA1c, lipid profile, liver enzymes, uric acid, fasting blood sugar, ultra sound scan of the abdomen, thyroid function test etc. are to be carried out at least once in a year. If waist circumferences or body mass index is found to be high that should be not be regarded as fun but as a disease entity and should be aggressively treated with modification in the lifestyles. If obesity and associated illnesses are severe enough, youngsters should even consider changing the job since there is likelihood to succumb to serious complications due to obesity even before they reach middle age. Adequate stress relaxation techniques have to be encouraged and selected and alcohol and smoking should be avoided. Kerala has got one of the highest statistics in terms of diabetes, heart attacks and kidney failure in India.

  • Don’t eat dinner late night.
  • Don’t skip breakfast- the first meal of the day. It can eventually lead on to 25-30% increase in the body weight.
  • While exercising, keep a target to reduce the abdominal obesity along with the excess body weight.
  • Waist Circumference should be less than 80cm in women and should be less than 90cm in men.
  • Always prefer small frequent meals.
  • Eat according to a time schedule and not when you are hungry.
  • Sitting in Front of Computer Job (SFCJ) eats a different type of food; they snack a lot unknowingly in between the meals probably to release the stress of the job.
  • Smoking and alcohol are also part of relaxation for many such individuals. This has to be avoided.
  • Onset of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes in obese young individuals are not only preventable but also many a time curable with the treatment of obesity and with the drastic change in the lifestyles.

Social net working sites and interacting with hundreds of friends add on to stress rather than a relaxation.


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