Q.1. I am forty years old. I was diagnosed with prediabetic conditions. I took medications earlier but have stopped taking them for the past few months. My father had heart ailments. I fear, I could be inheriting it too. Am I falling into a self-fulfilling prophecy (of worsening my condition)?

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetic conditions, then it is important that you keep a close watch over your sugars especially since, as you say, you also have a family history of heart conditions. There are some lifestyle changes and weight management techniques that you can incorporate in your daily routine. Though these are of most importance, sometimes your doctor may need to give you medicines to keep your blood sugar situation from worsening and to keep your cholesterol and heart in a healthy condition. A combination of all these measures will help in reducing your heart-related risks. Once you are sincere towards your lifestyle changes you can move into a better situation for yourself.

Q.2. I found my teenage daughter having a tingling sensation in fingers during sleep and otherwise. Also, I found her to be using the washroom many times at night. Only when did she have blurred vision did we take her for an overall check-up. She has type 1 diabetes. What should she do to control her blood sugar?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when there is an absolute deficiency of insulin in the body. Hence, unlike type 2 diabetes there is a very limited role of oral medicines, and the only and most essential treatment is to give insulin from outside. The type of insulin, the number of injections, timing and dose of insulin will depend on her lifestyle and level of blood sugar. Diet and exercise, as with all types of diabetes, has to be concurrently taken along with the prescribed treatment.

Q.3. As a working woman, it is difficult for me to not eat out.  I am trying to cut out sugars and carbs. I am narrowly built. What foods must I consume to maintain a good weight and remain healthy?

It is very much possible to mitigate the ill effects of eating food outside by choosing wisely. Whenever eating out we should avoid or minimize free sugars (such as in sweets, most carbonated drinks or added sugar in tea coffee). Carbohydrates such as rice, wheat flour (maida) should be consumed in limitation. We can incorporate healthy eating habits by choosing to have vegetables, fruits, salads and nuts, etc that add valuable nutrients to your diet and make you healthy. Deep fried food and alcohol consumption should as minimal as possible.

Q.4. How can children be taught to follow a healthy lifestyle in their growing years? It is getting very difficult to contain them from having junk. They jump with joy over a burger, pizza, and other such edible items.

Yes, it is difficult to manage children. However, they can be honed into understanding the importance of home food. It depends on the tastes they develop during their early stages that will impact on the ways they binge out or not, later in life. Most importantly, here, I suggest, children, early in life, should be encouraged to consume a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Junk food (such as pizza, burgers, samosas) sweetened drinks (such as colas) and packaged food (such as chips ready to eat noodles namkeens) should be limited, if not completely avoided. I would also say, children, should be active, play sports of their choosing. They should not get hooked to the mobile phone or electronic gadgets as is mostly the case.