Diabetes is on the rise. Over 25 million children and adults in United States have diabetes, and over 8% of the 25 million are Asian Americans (American Diabetes Association).
There are two types of diabetes. Diabetes Type 1 occurs in younger people (age 5 to 35 years of age) and is characterized by little or no insulin in the body. Type 1 diabetics are dependent on insulin injections every day for their survival. The causes for this type of diabetes are heredity and autoimmunity. Diabetes Type 2 develops in adulthood. The causes can be heredity, obesity, sedentary life style, diet, and stress.
Diabetes is diagnosed by urine, blood and ketone tests. To be considered diabetic, a person’s blood sugar shows as 120 mg after fasting or 180 mg if the test is taken 2 hours after a meal. Common symptoms for both types include an increase in thirst, urination, and appetite, and feeling fatigued. Type 1 diabetics may experience nausea and vomiting. Type 2 diabetics may experience blurred vision, slow healing in infection, and impotence in men.
How can yoga help?
In yogic language, human existence consists of five elements (koshas)—physical (annamaya kosha), life force or the subtle energy flow (pranamaya kosha), mental (manomaya kosha), intellectual (vijnanmaya kosha) and spiritual/bliss (anandmaya kosha). Yoga prescribes a combination of practices for the body, breath, mind and intellect to address the imbalances in all these aspects of the human system – pancha koshas. Integrated Approach to Yoga Therapy consists of practices at all these layers of our personality.
Yoga also helps us incorporate lifestyle changes more easily and naturally without force or compulsion. This way the changes are permanent and joyful. Awareness helps in knowing what we are eating and whether we are getting full. For example, when we eat, it takes a while for us to figure out whether our stomachs are full. By then we have already overeaten. Increased awareness helps us catch the point of satiation early.
Diet tips for Diabetes Management