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World Diabetes Day 2012

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If you think that Diabetes only affects the obese and old, you are sadly mistaken. I was 36 years old, 63-65 kgs in weight when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I am from the Indian sub-continent and diabetes runs in my family and most of the males have got it at an early age. Going by that I knew that diabetes would be in my life as well.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over 366 million people with diabetes around the world and over 50 million reside in India. Based on the circle of family, friends and colleagues, it appears to me that Indians have a higher risk of being diabetic, often at younger ages. 14th November is World Diabetes Day and I wanted to spread the word about the disease and help raise awareness. 

Growing up, I knew my father had diabetes and that he took medicine but he never really educated me on what the disease was, how I could help him and hopefully use that knowledge to delay the onset of my diabetes. It was a different time and perhaps he did not realize the importance of educating me. He eventually passed away from a heart attack, probably a result of his diabetes. I never really learned much from all that and continued to make mistakes of drinking soda, having sweets and having too much food especially rice. I oddly never gained much weight despite these bad habits. Eventually at age 35, I started showing signs of diabetes and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at age 36. It changed everything and now I had to watch everything I ate and can no longer eat like I did before and that will be the case for the rest of my life and will get worse as I get older.

Over the last few years, I see many around me, who are at the risk of diabetes but just don't care (like I was a few years ago) and I feel the least I can do is educate them. I have a 6-year old son who knows about diabetes and what he should avoid. He stays away from soda completely, he limits how much sweet stuff he has every day. If he is offered a 2nd piece of cake at a birthday, he asks us if he can have it. The best thing he does is remind me to stay away from things that are bad for me. I know I must do that so I can be in his life for as long as I can and that he can delay the onset of diabetes in his life (or hopefully never get it or perhaps a cure will be found in the next 30-40 years).

November 14th is World Diabetes Day and so I hope the least I can do is share some knowledge about the disease. The International Diabetes Federation website has a lot of information on

Its been 6 years now and fortunately my diabetes has not become worse. I am still on oral medication and need to test my sugar levels on a regular basis. I make sure I do my A1C every 3 months as its the best way I can tell my overall progress. I do have up and down days, especially around holidays (or around biryani) but I try and compensate that by eating less of something else.  If I get some of you to visit and read about the disease, I would feel like I made a difference. Please read the Warning signs section on the IDF site and if you feel that you or a loved one are showing signs of diabetes, please get them tested. You cannot hide from it, you need to face it and make a change to your lifestyle.


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