World Diabetes Day: Understanding Key to a Healthy Heart

World Diabetes Day was coined together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2006, and since then, it has been celebrated every year on November 14th.

By Mala Kapadia, Professor, Director of Wellness Practice & Resident Mentor

The human race has had a long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity, but we now have a task for which we have little experience, the task of surviving Prosperity. – Alan Gregg, Musician

Have we ever wondered why and what days are chosen for celebration? Even if the Day is chosen for awareness campaigns, is not this an unfortunate reality that we are choosing dis-eases and not Health for awareness. When we choose Health for awareness, like the World Ayurveda Day, and integrate in our life the principles of living healthy, we will not need all these dis-ease days. 

World Diabetes Day was coined together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2006, and since then, it has been celebrated every year on November 14th. Diabetes is a serious epidemic and lifestyle disease affecting millions over the world, and India is second to China with a staggering statistic of 7.29 crore people affected by this condition. Here are some facts:

  • 1 in 2 people live with type-2 diabetes undiagnosed, and over 425 million people are affected by type-2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes is one of the biggest reasons why families suffer financial losses. The cost of daily monitoring, insulin injections and ongoing treatments cut deep into wallets.
  • Lack of access to diabetes education programmes is also linked to emotional distress and the development of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in families.
  • The day is dedicated to the spread of awareness, risks, and management of this disease.
  • Celebrated on 14th November every year, the day coincides with Frederik Banting’s birthday who is the man responsible for the co-discovery of insulin in 1922. Fredereik Banting co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best back in the day.
  • The aim of this day is to increase awareness of diabetes through campaigns and the theme for 2020 is set as ‘The Family and Diabetes’.

Now let us have some insights into the widespread prevalence of such a dis-ease. The insights come not from modern western medicine, but from ancient health science of Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, Diabetes or Prameha as it is known, is a disease of affluence- a metabolic disorder due to lifestyle. One of the remedies given in the classical texts is to follow the cows. Now, this may sound weird to the modern mindset which says take insulin and continue with whatever wrong lifestyle you have. The modern medicine makes one dependent on external medication and absolves you of taking any personal responsibility for your disease. When you follow a cow, what happens? You walk with the cow, you take breaks for rest, walk again. Eat less, exercise more. And this will ignite the metabolism of the body to naturally digest the access sugar in the body, which is getting mixed up in the blood due to metabolic disorder. Nature has its own way of bringing us health. Ayurveda promotes this natural remedy. However, if needed, it also has herbs and other remedies to prevent further disorder.   

Diabetes is a severe metabolic disorder.  Ayurveda treats diabetes with a person-specific combination of cleansing cures, dietary advice, herbs and mental guidance. In Ayurveda, diabetes mellitus falls under the Prameha category. Prameha comes from the original word Mih sechane, and that means “water that dilutes everything in the body.” It is a disease in which the Doshas are out of balance. Prameha is a collective term of 20 disorders in which the entire urinary system is involved, characterized by excessive urination with abnormal values. It is essential to understand and treat diseases and to know what is meant by health in Ayurveda. By health is meant that body, mind, and soul are in harmony with themselves and with their environment. The person is disease-free and happy with what he or she is doing. That means that the three bio-energies Vata, Pitta and Kapha are in balance, the digestive fire is good, all tissues, organs, and systems function correctly and that the excretion is also trouble-free. On a mental level, people experience a state of well-being with themselves and with the world around them. There is harmony on all levels. Unhealthy is the opposite of one or more of the above concepts. 

Stop Diabetes Movement is a 20-hour yoga program by VYASA designed to help diabetics to control and manage active diabetes. All the yoga practices are safe and proven by research to be helpful in the management of diabetes. The program is delivered under the supervision of medical doctors and trained yoga therapists by VYASA. Yoga and Ayurveda bring back the balance of health in our life. May we celebrate this day as SDM rather than promoting external invasive cures. 

लोका: समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु

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