Control Diabetes before it controls you

"Control Diabetes before it controls you"

Being diagnosed with Diabetes does not mean an end to enjoying life to its fullest. With medical intervention, diet and exercise a person with Diabetes can continue to enjoy life thoroughly. Dr Pradeep A. Joshi shares with Sunila Kelkar his experience of ensuring his quality of life by successfully controlling his Diabetes before it could overshadow his health and happiness.

Name: Dr Pradeep A. Joshi

Age: 68 years

Profession: Consultant Neuro-Anaesthetist

The journey so far

I am a practising Consultant Neuro-Anaesthetist in various hospitals for over 40 years in Mumbai. I have been the Co-Chairman of the World Burns Association for a number of years. Even today, I travel to Rajasthan and Assam regularly to perform pro bono operations. My daily schedule has always lacked constancy. Sometimes I have operations which last 18 hours and on other days I have a four hour operation and then I am free the rest of the day. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with an every changing time table takes conscious effort.

Impact of the diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Diabetes 10 years ago. It began with a skin infection and the follow up testing showed that my blood glucose levels had rocketed to 225 mg/DL. This surprised me as I had been careful with my diet. But this did not come as a shock. There is a high genetic predisposition for Diabetes in my maternal family. Quite a few of them have passed away due to resulting complications. All my maternal cousins have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Being aware of this fact has made me pay greater attention to my health. I visited a diabetologist in Mumbai. He advised further investigation – lipid test and Hba1c which turned out to be 8.

Adapting my lifestyle

My diabetologist provided me with a diet chart which I have followed strictly ever since. I was put on a drug regime of metformin 500 bd. This dosage was later modified to metformin SR 500 BD. I keep in touch with my diabetologist regularly who alters the dosage if necessary. I have never needed to take insulin as I have maintained my Hba1c around 6.5 ever since. My blood pressure is around 135 by 90 and I do not require any medicine to regulate it.

I regularly keep a watch on my blood glucose levels. My schedule for which is as follows: On Monday and Friday I check my fasting levels. On Tuesday and Thursday I check the post prandial levels (post lunch) and on Saturday I check the post prandial level (post dinner). I maintain a diary wherein I have recorded every blood glucose level reading since my diagnosis.

My exercise routine

I walk daily non-stop for 45-60 minutes and have reduced my weight by 10 kgs in the first year post diagnosis. I play table tennis every day for an hour in the evening. I wear wide toed shoes while exercising as it reduces the chance of foot related complications.

My diet

I modified my diet as per the diet chart provided to me. I strictly follow the diet chart and eat small meals every two hours. This has helped me maintain my Hba1c level at around 6.

At six in the morning I have a cup of green tea. After a while I have one medium sized fruit or two biscuits. My lunch consists of one chappati, a bowl of vegetables followed by a small bowl of rice with dal and a bowl of salad. Around four in the afternoon, I have tea with three biscuits or two khakras. At around six, I have a medium sized fruit. My dinner which is around nine is the same as my lunch.

I have been advised to avoid banana, chickoo and mango. I have been a vegetarian all my life. I do not like to eat sweets and this made eating healthy meals easier. When I do eat sweets I always eat them in limited portions.

My friends and family

I openly discuss that I have Diabetes. I feel it helps generate awareness. If I can successfully control my blood glucose levels then so can others. I stress that I have ensured that Diabetes does not affect my work life. Even today, I perform operations (neurosurgical anaesthesia) on a full time basis, almost 16 – 18 hours at a stretch, when required.

Word of advice

  • Carefully control your diet. It is as important as taking your medicines regularly and on time.
  • It is important to check your Hba1c every six months.
  • Keep a track of your test results and make it a point to tell your doctor regarding any variations.
  • Burn more calories than you eat.
  • Regularly get your eyes, blood pressure and kidney functioning checked.
  • Take care of your feet and treat any injury with utmost care to avoid the onset of infection.

Take care of your feet and treat any injury with utmost care to avoid the onset of infection.

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