The World Health Organization estimate that over 382 million people worldwide including 3.2 million people in the UK have diabetes, a metabolic disorder affecting blood sugar levels. We have done countless health shows on Zee Companion where people are constantly calling worried about their sugar levels and also that of their loved ones.

Today I was joined by Natasha Marsland, who is a diabetes dietician, and has previously worked for the NHS. Natasha currently works for Diabetes UK as a Clinical Advisor where she has worked for over 10 years as part of a team providing clinical guidance and information for the organisation.

Natasha said that diabetes was a rising concern amongst the South Asian community and having worked in several London hospitals and now for Diabetes UK, she was aware of many of the concerns that our viewers have about this condition. She also mentioned that is worrying that many people are even unaware they have diabetes. So she suggested checking out the diabetes UK website for people who wanted more information and there is even information for those fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.

One of our callers wanted to know as a diabetic who was 80 years old-could he have a sip of brandy with his one meal a day? A valid question. She said that a sip of alcohol was not a major problem however excessive drinking was never a good thing, She also mentioned that as a diabetic, one meal a day was not a good thing either. One should try and balance their meals, and if confused speak to a healthcare professional or GP to discuss a suitable diet.

It seems fair to claim that diabetes is a rising concern especially amongst the South Asian community, especially the younger generation. More and more people are developing this due to genetics and also as a side effect from various medicines. Whatever the case may be the saying “prevention is better than cure” is clearly right when it comes to diabetes.

Some Zee Companion tops tips to avoid complications with ones diabetes:

Keeping your diabetes under control will help you prevent heart, nerve, and foot problems. Here’s what you can do right now.

Lose extra weight. Moving toward a healthy weight helps control blood sugars. Your doctor, a dietitian, and a fitness trainer can get you started on a plan that will work for you.

Check your blood sugar level at least twice a day. Is it in the range advised by your doctor? Also, write it down so you can track your progress and note how food and activity affect your levels.

Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.Diabetes makes heart disease more likely, so keep a close eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about keeping your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in check. Take medications as prescribed.

Keep moving. Regular exercise can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also cuts stress and helps control blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Get at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise 5 days a week. Try walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, swimming, tennis, or a stationary bike. Start out more slowly if you aren’t active now. You can break up the 30 minutes — say, by taking a 10-minute walk after every meal. Include strength training and stretching on some days, too.

  • Catch some ZZZs: When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to eat more, and you can put on weight, which leads to health problems. People with diabetes who get enough sleep often have healthier eating habits and improved blood sugar levels.
  • Manage stress: Stress and diabetes don’t mix. Excess stress can elevate blood sugar levels. But you can find relief by sitting quietly for 15 minutes, meditating, or practicing yoga.
  • See your doctor: Get a complete check-up at least once a year, though you may talk to your doctor more often. At your annual physical, make sure you get a dilated eye exam, blood pressure check, foot exam, and screenings for other complications such as kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.