Diabetes mellitus is one of the most extensively present diseases in existence today. The amazing fact is that more than half the people do not even know that they are Diabetic as they have never been diagnosed with Diabetes. The problems related with Diabetes and its side effects are also equally alarming. One-third of the new cases of end stage kidney diseases are due to Diabetes. The amazing statistics is that four out of five patients of Diabetes eventually die, not from Diabetes but from cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, strokes or peripheral vascular diseases that are in essence initiated from Diabetes. Diabetes is also one of the leading causes of limb amputations and blindness among the senior people.
Diabetes is of two types. Type I Diabetes is also known as Juvenile Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes, which is also known as Adult-onset Diabetes. The Type 1 Diabetes mainly occurs in the children as a result of auto-immune attack on the pancreas. The condition is characterised by not enough production of insulin and insulin supplementation is needed to be given to the children. Diabetes mellitus or Type 2 Diabetes is more of a worry these days as the rate with which it is attacking the human population is purely alarming. It has spread worldwide to epidemic proportions. The main reason attributed to this is the changes that have occurred in the lifestyle of people all around the globe.
The reason to this situation is characteristic of something called as Syndrome X, which is considered to be the precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. This is mainly due to the changes in the diet, which has over the period of years become more and more inclined towards high carbohydrate and high fat. Most of us are concerned with the fats that we are consuming without realizing that the diet we choose actually has a higher content of trans fatty acids. Please see the section on obesity to know more about trans fatty acids. This has over the period of years resulted in a situation where we have become less and less sensitive and more and more resistant to our own insulin. Insulin is basically a storage hormone that drives the sugar into the cells to be stored as fat. The body has a natural tendency to control the blood sugar levels so when the body becomes less sensitive to its own insulin, it compensates by making more insulin. Thus the body responds to higher levels of blood sugar by forcing the beta cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin to control the blood sugar levels.
Over the period of years this situation of insulin resistance results in the body producing more and more insulin to keep the blood sugar down. This situation of hyperinsulinemia results in many other complications. They can be listed as:
After a few years of developing the Syndrome X, the cells of the pancreas cannot cope up with excessive production of insulin. Then the insulin levels drop and the blood sugar levels rise. Mild increase in blood sugar levels initially are termed as preclinical Diabetes or condition of glucose intolerance. After this if the lifestyle and food habits are not changed the patient changes into a full blown case of Diabetes mellitus.
The main reason for the body to become insulin resistant is high content of refined carbohydrates in the diet. This is more commonly known as the Western diet. It is a fact that the bread, white flour, pasta, rice and potatoes release the sugar faster into the blood stream than the common sugar. These foods are therefore called as foods with higher glycemic index. This is the time taken for the food to release its sugar into the blood stream. Green leafy vegetables, fruits, vegetables containing beta-carotene are foods with low glycemic index. So even if a person is not consuming excessive sugar directly he can still develop a condition of insulin resistance because of high consumption of refined carbohydrates. Even small children are developing the Type 2 Diabetes these days due to unhealthy food habits. This is what is really causing the epidemic of Diabetes everywhere. Genetic factors also are considerably important. Anyone who has a history of Diabetes should be additionally careful about his diet if he has to avoid the situation of Syndrome X.
Yoga for Diabetes Prevention
Yoga is a powerful methodology to exercise all the internal organs. Diabetes is a situation of the endocrinal system because insulin is a hormone that is directly released into the blood stream. Yoga is the only practice that can stimulate the endocrinal system of the body; there are some yoga asanas or yoga exercises that are very beneficial for the therapeutic aspect of Diabetes. These yoga asanas or yoga exercises can be seen in the section of Yoga in Daily life. The Nabhiyasana yoga asana or yoga exercise has definite curative value for Diabetes. Other yogic practices like meditation and pranayama are also very helpful.