The Diabetes Health editorial team highlights the latest research findings in the field of Diabetes.

Awareness and knowledge can prevent health complications. Education plays an important role in informing people about the condition and how best to manage it through a healthy diet, regular exercise and necessary medication. This holds especially true for Diabetes which is a chronic condition caused by high blood sugar levels.

The 7th International Diabetes Summit 2023 organised by Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune was one such attempt to make an impact in the field of Diabetes. The three-day summit witnessed numerous national and international dignitaries connect virtually and speak on the latest findings, techniques and technologies in the field of Diabetes - from clinical management to patient care, from the current challenges to the latest innovations in the world of Diabetes.

Following are some of the topics discussed during the three-day summit:

Gluten free diet in autoimmune Diabetes

Dr Carani B Sanjeevi (Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Karolinska Institute. He heads a research group “Diabetes Immunology” at the Centre for Molecular Medicine in Karolinska University Hospital) spoke about gluten free diet in autoimmune Diabetes. Gluten is the name for proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is also added to foods as a thickening agent or to provide texture and flavour. Gluten has a stretchy quality to it and is the ingredient that gives bread and baked goods their chewy texture. Eating whole grains like wheat, barley, and rye is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and Diabetes.

However, gluten can cause health concerns for some. Some people experience adverse reactions and health risks when eating foods containing gluten. The peptides found in gluten are resistant to stomach acids, which can make it hard for some people to digest. These peptides can cause various symptoms from mild indigestion to more serious health conditions.

Gastrointestinal discomfort or allergy symptoms can develop as a result of eating gluten. Many people have developed celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system seeks gluten as a toxic invader and attacks it, resulting in intestinal damage. People with celiac disease are at risk for developing more severe disorders due to mal-absorption of vitamins and minerals. If you have any symptoms of gluten-sensitivity, you may want to consider removing gluten from your diet.

Thyroid disease and diabetes: what are the associations?

Dr.Usha Sriram (is Physician, endocrinology and diabetes specialist, medical ethics expert, great communicator, women's health promoter, women's rights activist, founder of Diwwaaas and Director of Aceerhealth) spoke about how thyroid disease and Diabetes affect The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone, which controls the energy levels in the body. It is

hard to imagine that this small butterfly shaped gland in the neck could have such devastating consequences when it dysfunctions.

Thyroid diseases are of three major types:

1. Hypothyroidism (failure of thyroid hormone production)

  • results in constipation, weight gain and reduced energy levels

  • corrected by supplementing thyroid hormone

2. Hyperthyroidism (excess hormone production)

  • linked to weight loss, increased heart rate, trembling and high fracture risk

  • treated by bringing down the thyroid hormone levels

3. Goiter - benign or cancerous thyroid gland swellings

People with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are at a higher risk of developing thyroid disease, especially in their adult years. Thyroid disease can affect insulin levels because hyperthyroidism increases metabolism, insulin is eliminated faster, causing blood glucose levels to rise. This can increase the risk of Diabetes or make Diabetes harder to control. Hypothyroidism can lead to low blood glucose.

Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune form of Diabetes, often occurs alongside autoimmune thyroid disease. Problems with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which produces the stress hormone cortisol, can lead to abnormal insulin and thyroid hormone levels.

Communication in endocrinology

Dr Tejal Lathia (is Endocrinologist at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital (Vashi), Apollo Hospitals (Belapur) and Cloud Nine Maternal and Child Healthcare (Vashi)) spoke about using appropriate language in healthcare. Communication skills training has been introduced in medical curriculum and is a much-needed step in the right direction. Communication workshops for doctors are various stages of their training and practice will also enable practising doctors to upskill.

It is often assumed in healthcare that good communication is “easy” or should be “innate”. Or that it can be learned by looking around at seniors and teachers. Bad communication by doctors causes a lot of hurt, frustration, anger and resentment among people with Diabetes towards the communication experience they had with their doctors. There is much room for improvement and thus, training in communication is a core skill that all doctors need.

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