Saturday, January 02, 2016

Controlling Diabetics: Gateway to Healthy Life

Reviewed by ASIF ANWAR ALIG 

Blood Sugar & Spices: Living with Diabetes, by Charmaine D’Souza, Random House India, Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, Year2014, 218pp, Indian Rupeese250, Soft.     

Prevention is better than cure,’ healthcare specialists advise us when consulted, though we often agree to disagree with them. Ignoring advice we ‘assume’ that intruder in carefree life—an unwelcome and untimely sermon. We hardly follow them though told repeatedly.

Time passes by and we begin to accept the advices to monitor unmanageable our health. Prevention is vital in health management in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. Self-help book Blood Sugar & Spices: Living with Diabetes motivates a reader to value prevention besides censuring the usual idiocies which bring complexities in life.  

Millions of diabetics encounter melancholic experiences every day. Many people live healthy life with this lifestyle disease. Dr. Charmaine D’Souza brings such facts related to diabetes in this book. She warns how carelessness and ill-treatment of body ruin life we receive only once. Human bodies are not permanent so sincere efforts are mandatory for healthy living.

Usual craziness include depriving bodies from sleep for ridiculous work schedules, partying madly by ignoring perilous and self-damaging consequences and fitting into skinny jeans as so called ‘ardent’ priorities. Is depriving body of food to attain that ‘size zero’ makes sense?  

There is a need to focus on the healthy eating for overall wellbeing. This book suggests home remedies especially herbs to monitor blood sugar level for healthy living. What turns diabetes fatal and how to control it? Why untreated diabetes might cause serious complication? Diabetic ketoacidosis, coma, heart diseases, kidney failure, blurred vision or even amputation of lower limbs in the extreme cases remains common consequence of uncontrolled diabetic conditions. Excess glucose circulation in blood streams causes focusing aspects as well.  

She ascertains that there have been regular advancements in the medical research to bring good resources for healthcare professionals. The serious concern is that even with a new dawn in this sector it has literally failed to investigate a breakthrough for total cure of diabetes. We are still unaware of what actually causes sudden stop of pancreas from producing insulin in Type 1 diabetes and how this issue remains unresolvable yet. Type 2 diabetes has causal relation with the genetic predispositions besides obesity and related issues being other factors.  

The symptoms causing diabetic onset include polydipsia (increased thrust); polyphagia (increased hunger) and polyuria (passing of copious amount of urine) besides constipation, excessive weight loss, fatigue, blurring of vision and extreme susceptibility to infections. They characterize diabetic mellitus onset. She stresses that diabetes can’t be cured completely but one can use effective resources with change in food habits to lifestyle for good control.

She caveats that highly stressed out situations bring severe rise in the blood sugar levels. It is crucial for family members of diabetic persons to help them avoid mental and physical stress. An increase in stress level directly responses by Glucogenic hormones release hence it causes enhancement of blood glucose level. With high levels of diabetes milletis due to blood sugar elevation body’s metabolic system affects badly. Insufficient hormone insulin in diabetic cases against required one for normal carbohydrate metabolism turns lifestyle difficult.   

Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), also called Type 1DM and Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), often denoted with Type 2DM, can be controlled by bringing radical change in the lifestyle—through proper diet intake and regular exercise.

This book guides the diabetics to focus on optimism besides thorough elucidation of diabetic complications. Living with diabetes in the condition under which glucose circulation in bloodstream fails to absorb properly is chronic but developing a feel of luckless sufferer further worsens health condition. Why optimism is crucial for diabetics? She suggests that maintaining positive frame of mind and self-confidence turns one capable to manage body plus mind. It helps to overcome the metabolic disorders.

Family support and encouragement boosts the morale of every diabetic person. Major diabetic symptoms of hyperglycemia should be treated instantly if detected. Ignoring that means you invite Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) condition which otherwise cause medical emergency. Such situation arrives once insulin supply goes too high to cause glucose movement out of the bloodstream to enter into body cells. It starves brain out of fuel just to force one to go into coma. Such situation leads to brain damage or even deaths.

This book suggests the options to keep blood glucose level under control. As diabetes affects all parts of body, it must be prevented by taking timely step to manage the disease. It is worth noting that today diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined. She suggests the action plan to test blood glucose level on regular intervals to maintain that at near to normal levels possible. If you are success in doing that you can easily beat complications associated with diabetes.

Diabetics are susceptible to diseases like heart attacks, retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, encephalopathy, periodontal disease, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and skin infections because it causes lifelong total-body complication. Manage diabetes by total change in lifestyle for overall improvement. Diabetics must understand this disease carefully to learn the major and minor complications for better solutions. To manage it you are required to maintain great tenacity of positive frame of mind. Support from family helps diabetics to develop self-confidence. Blood glucose level is best maintained through diet management.

She also points out why most diabetes management programs focus on body hydrations. An intake of minimum of two liters plain water besides increase in wholegrain intake is helpful. Diabetics are recommended to have fibre-rich food besides limiting carbohydrates. Regulated intake of dietary supplements zinc, manganese, chromium and vanadium et al are valuable. A diabetic must have sufficient sleep and involve in stress-busting activities for good control over this disease. Manage lifestyle by keeping in consideration this fact that diabetics are more sensitive to changes like physical, physiological, environmental and even mental.

Monitor body and have balanced, nutritious diet low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates with high fibers. If you are success in at least 20 percent reduction in body weight you can claim to have better diabetic management. Proper diet and exercise increase sensitivity to insulin. That is why you should have regulated diet. Be careful especially if there is a family history of diabetes. Carbohydrates are essential parts of diabetic diet. Carefully regulated diet instead of restricting carbohydrate inputs proves more beneficial. Fruits like mango and custard apple contain extra sugar than the rest but diabetics with better blood glucose control may have them in diets as in-between-meals carbohydrate snack rather than a total avoidance.
Primary focus in this book is on the herbs and spices. They have irrefutable impact on diabetic lifestyle to enhance pleasure derived from food. Herbs and spices shape the cuisines by adding interest in food. Even simple but an aromatic meal always remains best choice.

This book lists herbs available in the households as ultimate options to manage the diabetic conditions. It has the collection of healthy recipes recommended to diabetics. It is an excellent reference book for diabetics to understand the disease and incorporate changes in life for their healthy living.   

[Asif Anwar Alig ( is assistant professor and media relations specialist at Saudi Ministry of Education. He was earlier an executive producer in ETV; editorial coordinator at MDI, Gurgaon (India) and media specialist at PMU (Saudi Arabia). His website advocates—“Books are hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose and he is a happy victim of books.”];