We all know the diabetes is a disease, which arises due to the body's inability to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin, the hormone responsible for converting blood sugar into energy, is unable to carry out its function and as such the patient's blood sugar levels spike up causing various health issues. Now there are various factors that can cause diabetes - unhealthy diets, no physical activity, genetics, so on and so forth. Sometimes, women who are not diabetic can show signs of the disease while undergoing pregnancy. This condition is commonly known as gestational diabetes, which is dangerous, with risks of complications. Though experts pinpoint obesity or being overweight as one of the major causes, a recent study states that early periods could also play a role.
The normal age for onset of periods is considered to be 13 and above, However, there are many cases when girls get what is known as 'first periods' as early as 11 years or lesser. According to a research done by University of Queensland, girls who start their first period at age 11 or younger are 50 per cent more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy than those who experienced it at the age of 13.
"Early puberty in girls had now been shown to be a significant marker for several adverse health outcomes, including gestational diabetes," said Gita Mishra, professor at University of Queensland. Gestational diabetes is an increasingly common pregnancy complication and can have long-lasting health consequences for mothers and their children. "Research into this topic is of particular public health importance due to global trends of girls starting their menstrual cycles at a younger age," said Mishra.
The significant association with gestational diabetes risk remained even after researchers took into account body mass index and childhood, reproductive and lifestyle factors.
For the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the team analysed data from more than 4,700 women and found a higher number of women who reported having their first period at a younger age had later developed gestational diabetes.
"The finding could mean that health professionals will start asking women when they had their first period to identify those at higher risk of gestational diabnetes," said Danielle Schoenaker, researcher at University of Queensland.
A large number of women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are overweight or obese. Encouraging those who have early puberty to control their weight before pregnancy may help to lower their risk of gestational diabetes, said Schoenaker.
Older women, over 75, taking statins, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs, may be at 33 per cent increased risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study. The risk increased to over 50 per cent for women taking higher doses of statins, said researchers of the University of Queensland in Australia. Statins are prescribed to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes as well as reduce mortality. This study links its usage to the risk of diabetes, one of the most dangerous kinds of lifestyle diseases affecting millions across the globe.
"The study showed that almost 50 per cent of women in their late seventies and eighties took statins, and five per cent were diagnosed with new-onset diabetes," said Mark Jones from the University of Queensland.
"What's most concerning was that we found a 'dose effect' where the risk of diabetes increased as the dosage of statins increased," Jones added.
For the study, published in the journal Drugs and Ageing, the team included 8,372 Australian women born between 1921 and 1926. The results showed that elderly women should not be exposed to higher doses of statins. Elderly women currently taking statins should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and appropriate management of this potential adverse effect, including consideration of de-prescribing, the researchers suggested.
"Those elderly women taking statins should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and management of diabetes," added Jones.
Can the climate that you inhabit affect your pregnancy? Most of us would not believe but experts have actually been able to draw a correlation between the temperature of the region where you live and the state of your pregnancy. Experts at the St. Michael Hospital in Ontario, Canada studied the effects of climatic conditions on pregnant women. Those who were exposed to an outdoor temperature of more than 24 degrees Celsius or above were more prone (7.7%) to gestational diabetes. Pregnant women living in colder climates were at a lesser risk (4.6%). With every 10 degrees Celsius increase in temperature, the risk also got elevated by 6-9%. The study was published Canadian Medical Association Journal and studied 555,911 births among 396,828 women living in Canada over a 12-year period (2002 to 2014).
"Many would think that in warmer temperatures, women are outside and more active, which would help limit the weight gain in pregnancy that predisposes a woman to gestational diabetes," said lead author Gillian Booth, a researcher at St Michael Hospital in Ontario, Canada.
Some of the previously conducted studies have linked colder climates with enhanced metabolism as the brown adipose tissue gets activated in colder temperature and facilitates calories burning, increasing metabolism and better management of insulin.
Experts found that women born in cooler climates who were exposed to cold temperatures during pregnancy had a gestational diabetes rate of 3.6 per cent, while those exposed to hot temperatures had a rate of gestational diabetes of 6.3 per cent.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease caused by high sugar level in the blood. This happens because the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or the body is not using it correctly .Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Its main function is to transport the glucose from the blood into the cells where it is used for energy. However if there isn't sufficient insulin the glucose builds up in the blood.
There are two types of diabetes:
1. Type I diabetes
The cause for this is still unknown but in most people it is an outcome of destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas by our own immune system. Type I diabetes often develops in children, with a positive family history of a sibling or parent with diabetes. Certain viral infections like mumps, rotavirus or coxsakie virus B and cold climate may precipitate this to.
Where insulin is present but is not sufficient or is unable to work efficiently. The common risk factors for women are:
• Overweight or obesity (BMI of 25 or above),
• Older age of 45 and above. After menopause women are at a greater risk of obesity and higher waist circumference ,increasing the risk of Diabetes
• Family history-parent or sibling with diabetes
• Ethnicity-Indians are at a greater risk of DM2
• Giving birth to a baby of 9 pounds or above
• Presence of diabetes during pregnancy
• High blood pressure with medication
• Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
• Suffering from polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)
• History of heart disease or stroke
High sugar levels have a detrimental effect on the blood vessels and nerves. Nerve damage can lead to pain or loss of sensation in the affected area. Blood vessel damage can lead to heart diseases, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation, hearing loss, problems in conceiving and during pregnancy, and repeated urinary and vaginal infections
Are you at a risk?
India has the dubious distinction for being the diabetes capital of the world. Though we as a population are genetically prone to diabetes, rapid urbanization, poor diet and exercise, obesity are the main causes for this epidemic. Women are as prone to diabetes as men, but women are less likely to seek and follow medical advice and treatment for themselves.
Prevention they say is better than cure: You just need to follow 3 simple rule to protect yourself against diabetes
1. Weight Management
The number one risk factor for the onset of diabetes is overweight. More fatty tissues in the body make it resistant to the action of insulin. Furthermore, the apple shaped body, where there is fat accumulation around the abdomen predisposing you to a higher risk of diabetes. Shed those extra kilos. In a study participants who lost about 7% of their weight improved their risk of not getting diabetes by 60%. Fad diets aren't the answer, you may lose some weight initially but will it stay off? Eat healthy and exercise regularly, the only way to maintain weight without compromising on your health.
Simple tricks to help you eat less are-
• A smaller bowl or plate
• Use a tea spoon or child fork to eat smaller bites
• Eat slowly, chew your food well , it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that the stomach is full
• Do not eat in front of the TV
• Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meal
• Fill your plate like this- 1/4th protein, 1/4th whole grain, ½ vegetable and fruit with some skimmed dairy
2. Eat: healthy
• Whole grains protect against diabetes. In the Nurses' health study I and II which followed 160,000 women over 18 years, researchers found that women who ate two to three servings of whole grains reduced their risk of diabetes by 30%. Indian diets are based on whole grain cereals, find a chakki and get fresh whole grain atta, it will not only be beneficial for you but your entire family. Barley, steel cut oats, hand pounded rice, brown and red rice are other good choices.
• Instead of drinking juices, eat whole fruits. In the same nurses study II women who drank 1or more sweetened drink increased their risk of diabetes by 83%. Sugary drinks may contribute to chronic inflammation, high triglycerides decreased HDL (good cholesterol) and insulin resistance. Our traditional chaas, nimbu pani, bael sharbat, aam panna, all taste fabulous without sugar. Fresh coconut water, plain water, sugar free green tea and coffee are all good choices.
• Good fats like poly unsaturated oils from vegetable sources, nuts, seeds, protect against diabetes. Trans fats usually found in packed bakery goods, street foods, fast food restaurants can play havoc with your health. Any label that reads partially hydrogenated oil should be put away. Look for the amount of Trans fat on the label while buying ready to eat and ready to cook foods.
• Evidence from the Nurses study I and II , Health professionals follow up study and another 6 long term studies highlighted the substitution of red and processed meat with fish , poultry low fat milk and nuts decreased the risk of diabetes by 35%
All these points highlight that our traditional eating practises are the healthiest, we just need to re learn them.
3. Move your body
Being active helps you control your weight as well as improves insulin sensitivity.
• Get active, start with 30 minutes a day for 5 days of the week. Walking is the easiest form of activity start and then you can try other forms of exercise.
• Put on the radio and dance away your calories. Make your family join in for a fun filled jam session at home.
• Download an exercise video and follow it
• At office, walk for your water, to deliver a message, to catch up with a colleague
• Walk to the market if safe instead of taking a car.
The benefits of even moderate exercise are humungous .Start today.
Preventing Diabetes is about making healthy choices for life, as the lady of the house you can create an environment where everyone benefits. You do not need to do anything separately, do it for the whole family.
Remember you are the pivot of the family and taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of others.
Mango is known as the 'king of fruits' -- a well-known summer fruit that finds a number of uses in the Indian cuisine. Both raw and ripe mangoes are used to prepare dozens of dishes including mains, sides and especially accompaniments like chutneys and pickles. Mango drinks are especially popular in tropical countries, for their amazing taste and flavour and their ability to quench thirst like nothing else. Mangoes also have a number of health benefits; from supplying the body with healthy fibre to improving digestion, boosting immunity and keeping us hydrated. However, the mango tree has much more to give us than just its juicy and delicious fruit. For example, did you know that even mango leaves can provide with a lot of health benefits? The shiny, green leaves have a number of health benefits, due to which they have traditionally been used in home remedies in ancient medicinal practices. One such purported benefit of mango leaves is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels and manage diabetes.
Mango leaves generally have a reddish or purplish hue when they are young, but as they mature, they become dark green with a pale underside. These leaves have powerful antioxidant properties and are rich in flavonoids and phenol. They are consumed in both powder and decoction form. The latter is produced by boiling mango leaves in water. In South East Asia, the tender mango leaves are cooked as is and eaten. They also have anti-microbial properties and the young leaves have a number of medicinal benefits.
How To Use Mango Leaves To Manage Diabetes
Mango leaves have been used in Chinese medicine to control diabetes. An ancient Chinese remedy involves using mango leaf extracts to manage diabetes and asthma, through their abundance of nutrients. However, one particular scientific study in 2010 also provides credibility to the ability of mango leaves to manage diabetes. The study showed that mice who were given mango leaf extracts, absorbed less glucose than those who weren't. This is because mango leaf extracts have been known to increase insulin production in the body and also fight cholesterol in blood, due to the presence of vitamin C, pectin and fibre in the leaves. Moreover, mango leaves have also been known to provide relief from diabetic symptoms like frequent urination, blurry visions, etc.
A diabetes home remedy involving mango leaves suggests that drinking the water that has been used to boil about 10 to 15 fresh mango leaves after letting it sit overnight, is effective to control and manage diabetes. However, there is limited scientific evidence about the effectiveness of this home remedy. It is advisable to consult a certified dietitian or a clinical nutritionist before making any changes or additions in your diabetes diet.