According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2019 report, India has nearly 77 million people with diabetes and around 43 million people with undiagnosed diabetes in the age group of 20-79 years. Though this metabolic disorder has increased across all age groups over the recent past, its incidence among the younger adults has increased much more by 5-10 per cent, said Dr Ashutosh Goyal, senior consultant, endocrinology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
He added that experts are witnessing an increased footfall of young and middle-aged patients (20-50 years of age) in OPD presenting with diabetes. “The exponential rise among this set of population in India is primarily attributed to poor lifestyle which includes unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity leading to increased body weight,” he said.
Also, lockdown restrictions and working remotely from home brought various challenges. While some people made positive changes in their lifestyle — getting involved in various kinds of workouts — some had to limit their physical activities with prolonged working hours at home, inadequate sleep, increased stress and erratic diet pattern leading to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes.
Major risk factors
The major risk factors of diabetes among young & middle-aged adults include:
Family history of diabetes
Lack of physical activity
Smoking and excess alcohol consumption
High blood pressure
History of PCOS or gestational diabetes
People with diabetes usually experience these symptoms- alone or in combination:
Frequent urination: The frequency of urination increases as the body tries to expel excess glucose from the body.
Increased thirst: Too much urination results in dehydration or increased thirst.
Fatigue and tiredness: Due to insufficient levels of sugar in the cells, there is less energy in the body.
Weight loss: Since the cells are unable to absorb enough glucose, fat is burned by the body for energy leading to weight loss.
Cut down refined carbohydrates and sugar: Eating foods with high sugar and carbohydrate content can lead to increased blood sugar levels which may eventually cause diabetes over time. Instead of refined carbohydrates, it is better to choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oatmeal and vegetables.
Quit smoking: Smoking causes insulin resistance which can cause type 2 diabetes. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of diabetes.
Exercise regularly: It is important to stay physically active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. One should try to engage in physical activities like walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, etc. for at least 30 minutes every day. However, one should refrain from outdoor activities if there’s too much smog or pollution outside.
Consume good amounts of fibre: Getting plenty of fibre in the diet is good for weight management and gut health. A sufficient amount of fibre in the diet can prevent spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels.