If you’re 24 and a successful painter, your worries are easily dismissed. So in 2020 he was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), his girlfriend Shaiqa Shaukat, feeling that taking medication would help him solve his problems and get on with life. Except she couldn’t. A year later, in 2021, she was diagnosed with her type 2 diabetes. She ignored her doctor’s recommendation to be tested for the condition, mistakenly thinking her gynecological problem was not big enough to cause comorbidities. I went back and forth between fainting. Now, the 27-year-old has her life back and is measuring it with her facts and figures. With her glucometer on her body, she feels bound by discipline, but she’s happy to have her familiar rhythm back. “I’m always counting: how much I eat, how many calories I burn, how many hours I sleep,” says Shaika. This is also a metaphor evident in Vasant’s art in her cafe, The Pint, in her bustling D-Block her market in Bihar. New Delhi. She is now one of many young Indians with diabetes.
Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant. Their bodies can make insulin but are unable to use it effectively, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, said Dr. Amrita Ghosh, a consultant at the Fortis CDOC Hospital for Diabetes and Metabolic Disease. , says nearly 20% of her patients are under the age of 25 and have been diagnosed with PCOS-related type 2 diabetes. “Every day, I see at least five people with PCOS and type 2 diabetes. Both diseases have common underlying causes of insulin resistance and obesity. Given that most Indians are at high risk and have a genetic history and aggravating factors such as dyslipidemia and hypertension, blood glucose samples should be taken before and after consuming a 75 gm glucose drink. All young people should get this done,” she adds.
How stress triggered her PCOS
Shaika, who came to Delhi from Siwan, Bihar in 2010 to earn her living by painting commissioned by companies, schools and individuals, has her fortunes changed in 2020. The pandemic meant I lost my job as an artist. My relationships fell apart, I ate a lot of stress and developed insomnia. My sister, a trained physiotherapist, sensed something was wrong and rushed me to a gynecologist,” says Shaika. She was diagnosed with her PCOS. It is a condition in which the ovaries produce abnormal amounts of androgens, male hormones, and are covered with numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs). When Ms. Shaiqa was experiencing extreme stress and anxiety, her PCOS became apparent due to the stress her hormone cortisol, which boosts the secretion of male hormones and increases insulin resistance. I was.
She was on hormones, a multivitamin and metformin because her blood sugar spiked. I thought my blood sugar would normalize with medication, so that was my go-to,” says Shaiqa.
early onset of diabetes
By early 2021, she had developed severe fatigue, could hardly get out of bed, felt dizzy and often passed out. She experienced unexplained hunger, sudden weight gain, and bouts of depression. So she finally consulted her endocrinologist to understand her own body and she was diagnosed with severe type 2 diabetes. “To make things even more complicated, my partner ended our relationship when he found out I was diabetic,” Shaika added, venting her fears and anxieties in a series of gray charcoal sketches. She was prescribed medications such as glucobay, glucureta, multivitamins and vitamin D.
cravings and calorie control
Initially, Shaika struggled to curb her cravings for sweets and junk food. Then she worked with a nutritionist to create a calorie chart that didn’t compromise taste familiarity. I eat low-fat milk,” says Shaika. She also stopped consuming butter, coffee, sauces, sodas, and pickles, and developed a taste for chamomile, hibiscus, and green tea. I’m counting the calories in. If I happen to go over my limit on a day, I’ll correct the balance the next day,” she adds. Shaiqa never followed fad diets, opted for home-cooked meals and smart calculations to achieve the desired results.
Diabetes as a lesson in lifestyle management
“Before, I didn’t have a schedule for my personal life. Now I have a schedule for both my work hours and my time. I try to wake up early so I can fall asleep naturally and never wake up again,” says Shaika, who owns the restaurant. But with the support of her staff, she manages a workaround. She regularly plays badminton and works out at the gym with medical advice of course. “Diabetes keeps me very conscious and keeps myself updated on the condition,” says Shaika, who has a glucose meter attached to her body, which she replaces every 15 days. to get a graph of your blood sugar level. “It’s important to watch this graph. If it gets high, it will tell you what you need to do in the next 15 days. It’s my reality check. Despite sticking to the regime, My sugar levels remained stubborn. After discussing this with my doctor, I found that through the elimination system, my habit of eating ketchup on anything was pushing my sugar levels up,” Shaiqa said. At that point, she gave up a lifelong indulgence.
Over the past three years, Shaiqa’s HBA1C (mean blood sugar) value has decreased from 7.5 to 6.2. According to doctors, this is a significant improvement. Her doctors applaud her efforts and show her optimism, but she knows her life isn’t all smooth sailing. ever. “It’s like a borrowed life, cherishing every moment and never letting yourself slip. My relatives ask me to hide my condition, but diabetes is not a punishment but an organizer of my life and a way to live, so I am fighting my own battles. I own a wound of