Saturday, 26 July 2014

Monsoon with Diabetes

Monsoon is beautiful and is loved by most of us. It has the potential to turn a dull day into cheerfulness and brings joy and happiness on faces. After the long summers’ everyone waits for rain which apart from being beautiful respites us from the scorching heat, it fills up our water reservoirs for drinking throughout the year and also gives a boost to the economy. India being largely an agrarian economy is very much dependent on monsoon to arrive so that farmers can start new crop cultivation of rice, sugarcanes and oilseeds.

This year monsoon in India is playing a spoilsport possibly (as told by scientists) due to El Nino Phenomenon which triggers poor monsoon. The delay and scarce rains this year has triggered inflation to surge lowering the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India is the second largest producer of rice and wheat in the world; hence any delay in monsoon has large ripple effects. However, as per recent releases by government the monsoon deficit has come down to 31-32 percent with rains picking up in end of July across the country giving a much needed relief to farmers, the government categorically asserted that, “there is no need to be alarmist”. The recent statements by Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Earth Science shows some positivity to it and shows the optimism for the entire nation because while during the month of June and first two weeks of July, the monsoon was deficient by 43 percent, in the week beginning July 13, 2014, the deficiency is reduced to 32 percent, thus, recording an improvement of 11 percent in the monsoon level.

Being an optimist, I’m expecting more of rains sooner….

Now, let me discuss with you, how monsoon affects a diabetic:

Monsoon Problem in Diabetes: Rain Walking!
Most of the people stop going out for a walk and same is with diabetic people or people who are trying to be fit in order to avoid Type 2 diabetes. Lack of exercise or suddenly stopping the exercise routine will send your sugar levels for a toss.

Instead of completely stopping, you can try following: Choose a time for walking in a light drizzle and enjoy the monsoon walk by wearing a proper headgear and raincoat with a comfortable shoes/ floaters.  If the rain is heavy, you can try walking on staircase of your apartment and do a few rounds at your own slow pace. This will give you the comfort of your home without getting wet and affecting your exercise routine. Ofcourse those of you who have their own treadmill at home can continue the exercises without having to step out.

Monsoon Problem in Diabetes: Pakora’s & Bhajiya’s
Well, this one is really a mouthwatering problem to be dealt with. In India, rains are synonymous with Pakora & Bhajiya’s, what when you have diabetes?

The more mouthwatering it sounds, the more the problem for you to have self-control. Yes, “self-control” is the only possible solution for this issue. Understand that such oily stuff is sure to give your complete dedication towards maintaining health a run of money. You may try 1-2 pieces but just avoid indulgence. The ill-effects of such fast-food/ snacks are long term on your mission to avoid diabetes. A section of people start indulging in alcohol in rain to enjoy it more, a limited and very controlled portion may not be harmful but avoid soft-drinks which have very negative effect on blood sugar levels. You can revise about what to eat and what not to eat at our earlier blog on food.

Monsoon Problem in Diabetes: Fungal Infection/ Foot Care
Monsoon comes with a rise in different kinds of fungal/ foot infections. For a diabetic the most common reason for hospitalization is foot problem

Yes, most people suffering from diabetes visit the hospital when foot problem starts affecting their quality of life. It is very clear that the footwear you choose plays a very important role in fighting this disease. Utmost foot care is required in diabetes and a person should be more attentive towards it in monsoon. You are required to wash and clean the feet and other body parts exposed to continuous moisture or after coming wet from rain. To keep them dry use simple talcum powder or medicated powders as suggested by a medical practitioner/ over the counter prescriptions. Make sure not to use wet shoes or other footwear unless they are sun dried. Change your socks every day to avoid bacterial growth which is very common in monsoon. Use open toed shoes in rain. Take care of your open wounds. We had written a detailed blog on foot care in diabetes in March. You can try reading it again and refresh your memory.

Monsoon Problem in Diabetes: Respiratory Problems
Diabetes lowers your immune system. Many a time people have complained of breathing issues in humid environment, since around monsoon the humidity also increase, people with diabetes should be cautious.

Monsoon prompts respiratory tract infections and asthma. The best solution is to keep your inhalers, sprays and medications as suggested by your doctor all the time when you go out. You may also find it helpful to keep your friends and colleagues aware of your breathing problems, so that in case of a sudden or severe attack they can be of prompt help.

Well, not all things are problem in rainy season for diabetic people. There’s good news for diabetics in monsoon: Jamun (Java Plum)

Indian continent is blessed with this wonderful seasonal fruit available in monsoon and which is very beneficial in diabetes. This fruit is not common in Western markets as it is native to India and Pakistan. For diabetes not only this fruit but even its leaves, seeds and bark is beneficial. Jamun has zero calories, and helps naturally in preventing transformation of starch from our food into sugar. Since Jamun is a seasonal fruit, it is not available throughout the year, but if you want, you can used the grounded seeds and bark of the Jamun tree which is equally beneficial. Eating one or two Jamun leaves .in morning and evening everyday will help to control your blood sugar levels to a large extent.

Well, now you know how to enjoy the rain even if you have diabetes.  Knowing the risks always helps. Isn’t it? You can calculate your, your family’s and your child’s risk of diabetes just by clicking the button below:

 Click to Avoid Diabetes

Let me know if I can be of any help. I will really appreciate to get your suggestions or queries.

Dr. MS Singhal
Initiative of Singhal Diabetic Clinic, Haridwar

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