Dr Sudarshan S., Consultant, Physician, Medall Healthcare spoke to The Daily Guardian Review about the link between diabetes and obesity, how to prevent diabetes and more.
Q: Can mental health issues lead to Type 1 diabetes?
A: No. Mental health issues cannot lead to Type 1 diabetes, which is an organ-specific autoimmune disease. However, psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia managed with atypical antipsychotics like olanzapine can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. This is one of the reasons why patients must follow a healthy lifestyle if they are on psychiatric medications. Disorders like binge eating disorders are linked to type 2 diabetes and anxiety disorders can worsen type 2 diabetes control.
Q: Can Type 2 diabetes be reversed with no medication?
A: Type 2 diabetes can undergo remission without medication by following a strict diet and exercise program. However, once the lifestyle changes are withdrawn, the disease comes back again. This is why lifestyle change should be permanent. This helps in keeping not only type 2 diabetes under check but a host of other conditions as well like hypertension, coronary artery disease, etc.
Q: How is obesity related to diabetes?
A: Obesity leads to a condition called insulin resistance, during which enough or excess insulin is being produced but body cells are unable to extract glucose from the blood. This leads to a condition called type 2 diabetes. By addressing obesity in its initial stages, one can prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Hence, the importance of a healthy diet and exercise cannot be overemphasised.
Q: What are the warning signs or symptoms of low blood sugar levels?
A: Features of low blood sugar levels include palpitations, sweating, increased hunger, giddiness, and loss of consciousness, which if untreated, can lead to a serious condition called coma. Low blood sugars usually happen in patients who take insulin as a part of treatment for diabetes. It can rarely happen with oral hypoglycaemic drugs too. Speak to your doctor urgently about adjusting medications if you experience symptoms of low sugar and if it’s found out using a glucometer.
Q: What kinds of steps can people take for diabetes prevention?
A: Here are some steps that can be incorporated:
Follow a healthy diet, ideally a low carbohydrate diet.
Maintain an ideal body weight. Keep the target BMI (Body Mass Index) between 18 and 23
Exercise regularly. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Sleep adequately. One should always get quality sleep. Studies have shown that stress and faulty sleeping habits can indirectly lead to the development of diabetes.