What Is Diabetes ?

                                       14 November is World Diabetes Day


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that enables cells to take in glucose from the blood and use it for energy. 

Failure of insulin production, insulin action or both leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (hyperglycaemia).

This is associated with long-term damage to the body and the failure of various organs and tissues.


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.Consequently, people with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin and must take insulin to survive.

Type 2 diabetes is marked by insulin resistance. People with type 2 diabetes cannot use the insulin that they produce effectively. They can often manage their condition through exercise and diet. However, in many cases oral drugs are needed and often insulin is required.

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes have high blood glucose levels during their pregnancy. GDM affects about 4% of all pregnant women.

Understand diabetes: Know the warning signs*

• Frequent urination
• Excessive thirst
• Increased hunger
• Weight loss
• Tiredness
• Lack of interest and concentration
• Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)
• A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
• Other signs include blurred vision, frequent infections and slow-healing wounds
*These can be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes.


The complications of diabetes :

Diabetes is a chronic, life-long condition that requires careful monitoring and control. Without proper management it can lead to very high blood sugar levels. These are associated with long-term damage to the body and the failure of various organs and tissues.

Complications include:

Cardiovascular disease, which affects the heart and blood vessels, and may cause fatal complications such as coronary heart disease (leading to a heart attack) and stroke.
Kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy), which may result in total kidney failure and the need for dialysis or kidney transplant.
Nerve disease (diabetic neuropathy), which can ultimately lead to ulceration and amputation of the toes, feet and lower limbs.
Eye disease (diabetic retinopathy), characterized by damage to the retina of the eye which can lead to vision loss .



Understand diabetes: know the risks

There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes. They include:
• Obesity and overweight
• Lack of exercise
• Previously identified glucose intolerance
• Unhealthy diet
• Increased age
• High blood pressure and high cholesterol
• A family history of diabetes
• A history of gestational diabetes
• Ethnicity – higher rates of diabetes have been reported in Asians, Hispanics, Indigenous peoples (USA, Canada, Australia) and African Americans.


World Diabetes Day and Primary Prevention

At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation. Type 2 diabetes, however, can be prevented in many cases by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.

Once identified, people at high risk of diabetes should have their plasma glucose levels measured by a health professional to detect Impaired Fasting Glucose or Impaired Glucose Tolerance, both of which indicate an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Prevention efforts should target those at risk in order to delay or avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes.

There is substantial evidence that achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. 

 IDF recommends a goal of :

At least 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling or dancing .

Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.

Source : http://www.idf.org/files/docs/WDD-booklet-EN-final.pdf


Turmeric – From Tradition To Research

                Turmeric has always been integral part of Indian kitchen with varied uses – as a condiment to medicine . In this article , the journey of Turmeric from ancient times to present has been tried to explore .

Description :

                        Family : Zingiberacaeae

                         Botanical Name : Curcuma longa

                         English Name : Turmeric

                         Hindi Name : Haldi

                         Synonyms  : Haridra ( Symbolizing special bond with Hari / Lord Vishnu or one  which improves skin complexion)

                                               Kanchani ( Which gives colour of gold )

                                               Nisha ( Related to night )

                                               Krimighna ( Which kills germs )

                                               Yoshita priya ( Liked by women )

The Plant :

                      It is an annual herb . Orange to yellow coloured rhizomes grow underground . Leaves are    30 – 40 cm in length and smell like ginger . Petiole is long and broad like leaves and it smells like mango . The stalk of the flower is 12 – 16 cm long and yellow flower grows at its tip . Fruit is oval with deep yellow pulp.

raw turmeric


            Rituals :

  • The yellow of turmeric is a virile colour , colour of sun spreading across the sky and reaching out to the earth . When sprinkled over deity , the idea is to evoke the deity’s grace and power. Turmeric is antiseptic – destroyer of germs as Gods destroy demons .
  • Yellow is the colour of Solar Plexus Chakra  – which is the energy centre relating to the metabolic and digestive system .
  • As a ritual in Indian weddings , brides and grooms are anointed with turmeric paste . Turmeric is sprinkled on invitation cards  also .
  • Turmeric improves fertility and is considered as a symbol of purity and prosperity.

              Culinary Uses :

  • Fresh leaves are used in cooking .

  • Leaf is added in Ghee ( clarified butter ) for aroma .

  • Raw turmeric is used as pickle .

  • As a condiment ( in powdered form ) in most of the Indian food .


                    Properties of Turmeric :

                                            Taste  :  Bitter , Acrid

                                             Properties  :  Dry  , Light

                                             Potency  :  Hot

                                             Post Digestive Property  :  Acrid

                      It balances Vata , Pitta , Kapha  and is mainly used in vitiated condition of Kapha and Pitta .

                      It is used as thermogenic , antiseptic , anti inflammatory , appetizer , carminative , anthelmintic , anti allergic , expectorant , haematinic , styptic , febrifuge , tonic , vulnerary  , alterative.

                       It is used in ulcers , skin disorders , hepatomegaly , spleenomegaly , hyperlipidemia , malignancy , diabetes , arthritis ,      jaundice , bronchitis and general debility .

Post natal period  : Haridra khand pak has purifying effect on uterus and breast milk .

Diabetes  :  10 – 15 ml juice of turmeric and gooseberry ( Amla ) in equal quantity should be taken daily as a prophylactic measure . If juice is not available , powder of  both herbs should be taken in equal quantity . This is called ‘ Nisha – amalaki Yog’.

Bronchial Asthma / Cough : It acts as an expectorant .

  • It is roasted and given with honey or warm water .

  • Inhalation of turmeric smoke reduces cough .

  • Put it in saline water for 21 days and then parched on fire ,should be kept in mouth. It checks hiccough , cough , asthma , disorders of kapha .

Anaemia  :  It should be mixed with Triphla ( three myrobalans ) , honey , ghee       ( clarified butter )  for  internal  use .

Colic : Turmeric 10 gm with equal quantity of yavani ( Trachyspermum amami ) and salt 2.5 gm is powdered and cooked in ghee 40 gm . It should be taken warm in severe colic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 Paronychia : Fresh rhizome ground with milk and castor oil is applied externally.

Bone fracture / Sprain / Wound :

                                        External : It is applied locally with lime stone .

                                         Internal : Powder mixed with Murraya paniculata is given. It can be given with Candy Sugar ( Mishri ).

Disorders due to change of place : Turmeric pounded with sour gruel should be taken .

As a Cosmetic : It’s paste is applied  on face in combination with either cucumber / honey / milk /  curd /aloe or rosewater . It enhances complexion and texture of skin. Paste made with turmeric powder and gram flour can be used as a body scrub .

Teeth : Brushing teeth with turmeric powder and mustard oil or salt or alum , clears tartar and teeth  become white .

Dose :  Juice  – 5 – 10 ml ; Powder – 1 – 3 gm



             Active Principles : Present studies have shown that Curcumin , Curcuminoids and essential oil are the main active constituents of turmeric. Curcumin imparts yellow  colour and is responsible for its biological activity.

Anti – Oxidant Property  : Anti – Oxidants can act at different levels .These are broadly classified  into  5  Levels – Level – 1 , Level -2 , Level – 3 ,        Level – 4 , Level – 5.

                Level – 1 : Prevention of radical formation , mainly by enhancing the levels of SOD and catalase  or by sequestering transient metals like iron.

                Level -2  :  Scavenging of primary radical ( OH , O₂ ,ⁱO₂ ) or breaking chain initiation .

                Level – 3  :  Scavenging of secondary radical ( ROO ,LOO ) or breaking the chain of propagation (conventionally studied as inhibitory lipid peroxidation ).

                Level -4 : Repair and reconstruction of lipid membrane aided by glutathione peroxidase or by increase in level of glutathione  .

               Level – 5 : Repair of DNA and other  cellular constituents .

            Turmeric works at Level – 2 , Level – 3  and Level – 4 .

Anti inflammatory Property :  Curcumin shows an anti inflammatory effect in acute , subacute  and chronic models of inflammation in mice and rats . It also exerts a significant response in a controlled trial in Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis .

Hepatoprotective : Turmeric and Curcumin have been shown to protect liver against a variety of toxins  in-vivo and in-vitro . Turmeric in diet has been found to stimulate enzymes –  aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase , glucuronyl transferase , glutathione S transferase  which metabolise xenobiotics.

Respiratory System : It is useful in Bronchial Asthma . Its anti  allergic effects are also proven.

Immunostimulant  Activity  : Stimulates reticulo endothelial system , acts as immune stimulant .

For complete article click :


The Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Childhood obesity affects both developed and developing countries of all socio-economic groups , irrespective of age , sex or ethnicity . It has been estimated that worldwide over 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese , and one in 10 children is overweight .

A wide range of prevalence levels exist , with the prevalence of overweight in Africa and Asia averaging well below 10 per cent and in the  Americas and Europe above 20 per cent .

 Indian data regarding current trends in childhood obesity are emerging. A recent study conducted among 24,000 school children in south India showed that the proportion of overweight children increased from 4.94 per cent of the total students in 2003 to 6.57 per cent in 2005 demonstrating the time trend of this rapidly growing epidemic .

 Socio – economic trends in childhood obesity in India are also emerging . A study from northern India reported a childhood obesity prevalence of 5.59 per cent in the higher socio – economic strata when compared to 0.42 per cent in the lower socio-economic strata .

.childhood-obesity-epidemic-infographicSource : http://rossieronline.usc.edu/national-school-lunch-week-2011-infographic/

obesity in children and adolescents – http://icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2010/november/1117.pdf