World Diabetes Day with Dr T N Nakin

Nov 13, 2023 | Articles

In Recognition of World Diabetes Day, Med Pak

Interviews Dr T N Nakin

Q: Is diabetes the most common chronic condition you treat?

A: Yes, it is the most common. Hypertension is second.

Q: Once diagnosed with diabetes, what is your next step to treat the patient?

A: After diagnosis the next important thing is to counsel the patient about it, hence it is a life changing disease not only for the patient but for their family too. Then educate the patient about managing diabetes:

• Lifestyle modification: diet and physical exercise

• Treatment/medication: how to use it and possible side effects

• Signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and how to manage them and consulting a health care practitioner

Q: What are the challenges faced with diabetic patients?

A: Most patients experience challenges with lifestyle changes.

• The food: affordability and availability of recommended low glycemic foods.

• Stopping old unhealthy habits and adapting to new diet restrictions is a struggle for many but sometimes it is lack of education.

• Life has become very busy and people are committed, never get enough time to exercise but I always tell my patients to make time for exercise because there is never going to be an extra 25th hour of the day.

Q: What advise can you provide to other healthcare practitioners regarding treatment of diabetes?

A: To understand the patients’ background and treat them with context, it is important to work with what they have in their cupboards then to recommend food they don’t have and cannot afford to buy. It will be difficult for a patient to sustain and to refer appropriately. Dieticians are most certainly available to manage the diet component.

Q: Can diabetes be managed through lifestyle? What lifestyle changes would you recommend to your patients?

A: Most definitely.

• Regular physical exercise, not necessarily to buy a gym membership but to be physically active at home, work, anywhere. Walking, jogging, gardening, and doing house chores.

• Make the best affordable diet choice. I tell them:

1. “Your best choice does not taste nice but it the healthier option” e.g. drinking water vs fizzy drinks.

2. If it is not recommended by your healthcare practitioner, do not bring it home, don’t buy it! I say so to discourage temptation and “cheating”. If one “cheats” it must be planned and to an absolute minimum e.g. a slice of cake.

3. Regular check-ups with a doctor.

4. Ask/read about diabetes to understand and empower themselves.