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DIABETES AND HEALTHY LIVING – THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY BATTLE

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Few decades ago, I moulded sand castles as kid, rolled abandoned car tyres around street corners, woke up each morning to the crowing of the cock – life was serene and unperturbed.

As the world has evolved and technology has improved, computer games have fast replaced outdoor games; kids now learn even their basic nursery rhymes on ‘iPads’.
Loud zooms of fast-moving cars, blaring of horns, footsteps of workers hurrying out before dawn to beat traffic to work has taken over the function of my alarm clock. Welcome to the 21st century!

The “fast and furious” demands of the 21st century are not without their tolls on our health; recourse to a sedentary lifestyle, increased stress level, on-the-go meals to say the least.

One of the most devastating effects of our new way of life in this century is the increase in the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease of the body’s ability to appropriately utilize sugar, the primary metabolic fuel.

It is a major health concern of the world we live in today, affecting about 400 million people worldwide and accounting for about 5 million deaths annually from its complications which include problems with but not limited to the kidneys (Diabetic nephropathy), eyes (Diabetic retinopathy), nerves (Diabetic neuropathy), poor wound healing, and the heart.

The world’s population has grown from 6.2 billion to about 7 billion in the last decade putting an untold pressure on food production. The resultant effect is production of more processed and synthetic food, making healthy diet more expensive on the average.

Obesity being one of the biggest risk factors of diabetes, hence, healthy diet is of paramount importance. Leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains cereals, lean meat, fish and nuts should be incorporated.

Corporate organisations now carry out much of their work in virtual offices,many staffers of such organisations do a lot of their tasks on the computer than around the office space. “Work” now colloquially refers to sitting behind a desk pressing the computer all day.

Sedentary life style is another big risk factor. Regular exercise is key. Work-out frequently. Why don’t you try walking down the road for ten minutes before calling a cab,when you go to work tomorrow and subsequently.

Take the “#bigbluetest” as often as you can.
We have deadlines to beat and targets to meet daily. We often need ready-made refreshments or other energy source. Take water or unsweetened coffee instead of processed fruit juice or carbonated drinks.

Peanut butter instead of chocolate or jam spread on bread, nuts and freshly-made fruit juice or sugar-free yoghurt for snacks instead of hamburger and ‘coke’.
Avoid simple sugars
Do not skip breakfast; this is associated with weight gain. Rather, go for smaller ration par meal with a healthy breakfast being pivotal. Choose whole grain bread over white bread, brown rice to replace white rice, whole grain pasta instead of processed ones.

The internet has become part of the fabric of our everyday life. Its use elevates dopamine (the juice of addiction) levels just like cocaine does.

We all are guilty as our devices are never really more than one foot away. The wrong use of the social network has made antisocial beings out of us. Before checking what you have missed online, take some aerobics.

More importantly, monitor your weight and blood sugar level from time to time as early diagnosis and prompt management is central to good prognosis. Whether diabetic or pre-diabetic, living healthy in the 21st century,even with its demands on our health is possible, though a difficult battle, its also winnable.

Join an advocacy group to promote awareness through social media. Take a “blue-circle selfie” and tag along your tweets. Let us propagate the message together and we shall stand tall.

The winning Essay written by Omole Temitope @omoleMD