Article by Dr Raghuram YS
Pre diabetes is a menace of modern day – sedentary lifestyle. It is a condition which, if left unattended, the person might go on to develop diabetes. Allopathic system of medicine treats it as a condition and medicines are prescribed to ‘treat’ prediabetes. But since it is only a hint that the person ‘might’ develop diabetes in future, it can be very well reversed with suitable lifestyle changes and by including some very simple herbs in diet.
Pre diabetes symptoms
Pre diabetes symptoms according to Ayurveda –
Ayurveda explains the following pre diabetes symptoms –
Dantaadeenam malaadhyatwam – depleting oral hygiene
paani paadayoho daaha – burning sensation in feet and palms
chikkanata dehe – a feeling of stickiness in whole body
According to modern parameters, a fasting blood sugar level of 100 – 125 mg/dl and post prandial blood sugar level of around 140 mg/dl is considered as pre diabetes.
Pre-Diabetes might not show any signs and symptoms but may be accidentally traced when you are undergoing biochemical tests for some other disorder or when your doctor specifically suggests the test suspecting diabetes in you.
Other names – Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Impaired Fasting Glucose,
Previously Pre-Diabetes was called “Borderline Diabetes”
It is generally a healthy condition with no symptoms. It is almost always present before a person develops T2DM. These people have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but are not high enough to be called Diabetes.
Importance of diagnosis
Early diagnosis, Treatment and attention in this stage may prevent T2DM and serious health problems.
We can also avoid complications of T2DM like heart diseases and blood vessel disease, eye disease and kidney diseases.
Most people have no symptoms.
Some may have symptoms of Diabetes in a milder form (unusual thirst, frequent urination, blurring of vision, extreme fatigue etc).
Whom to test for Pre-Diabetes?
Those who are 45 years or older
Those who are overweight with BMI of 25 or more having any of the below mentioned Diabetes risk factors:
Strong family history of Diabetes (have a first degree relative with Diabetes)
History of gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Have High triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol
Abnormal blood sugar tests in the past
History of heart disease
Have any signs of a condition called insulin resistance (severe obesity, acanthosis nigricans etc)
One of these 3 tests will confirm:
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test – 100-125 mg/dL
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – 140-199 mg/dL
Haemoglobin A1C test (HbA1C) – 5.7 – 6.4%
Impaired Fasting Glucose after FPG test will suggest that you may be a pre-diabetic (100-125mg/dL).
Those who make healthy changes in their diet and increase physical activity during pre-diabetes can prevent T2DM. The blood sugar levels might just get back to normal values.
DPP (Diabetes Prevention Programme) suggests that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day with a 7% weight loss produce a 60% reduction in diabetes.
Healthy diet: Low fat protein, vegetables and whole grains. Limit calories, serving sizes, sugar and starchy carbs. Take fiber-rich foods.
Losing weight (5-10%)
Exercise: at least 30 minutes a day. Include cycling, swimming, brisk walking. An aerobic exercise (that which gets your heart rate up) is ideal. Always get the opinion of a doctor before picking up an exercise.
Treat High BP and high Cholesterol promptly
Watch what you eat: A great saying – what you eat is what you become. Ayurveda explains Asya-sukham (eating at will) as main cause for diabetes. So, cut down on excessive sweets, junk stuff, oily foods, non vegetarian foods. Eat more of green leafy vegetables.
Don’t sleep / rest unnecessarily – Ayurveda calls it as Swapna sukha. While a small nap is good for you, sitting in front of TV for long hours, no physical activities, sleeping during day time for hours together should be avoided in pre diabetes.
Walking / exercise / games : Controlling weight and being active helps to curb extra sugar in blood and keeps you more active. Losing weight is one of the effective ways to fight pre diabetes.
Avoid curd – Ayurveda explains curd as one of the causes of diabetes. Especially curd consumption at night is not encouraged according to Ayurveda. Butter milk is the suitable substitute for curd.
Avoiding fresh grains – Ayurveda encourages to use grains like Ragi, rice, wheat etc.. which are at least one year old. So, new grains are to be avoided.
Turmeric and Amla – This combination of two herbs is very effective in pre diabetes management. Include them as a part of diet. Amla pickle made with turmeric is a great way to do that.
Neem leaves & Curry leaves – is not only good for improving digestion and taste of food, but is also good for fighting pre diabetes
Are any ayurvedic medicines / supplements needed?
For reversing pre diabetes, I suppose, the above mentioned measures would be highly effective to manage. However, it is up to the decision of health care provider to decide on any medicine / supplements.
The above mentioned tips can also be followed as diabetes alternative treatments, as along with the necessary medication, after consulting with the doctor.
Consult Dr Raghuram YS MD (Ayu)