Dr Bhasha Mukherjee is well known in British Indian circles not only for her Miss England crown but also her dedicated campaign to combat diabetes within the community.
The junior doctor with the National Health Service (NHS) is passionate about health education and preventative healthcare. She is also very involved with charity work across the world and works closely with charities like Diabetes UK to promote health campaigns for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
As we mark Diabetes Awareness Week 2022, iGlobal caught up with this dynamic medic for our Frontline Series to get her insights and tips on combating this serious health issue affecting the British Indian community.
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What is your central message for the Diabetes Awareness Week?
Diabetes is an illness that has always been something I'm both terrified and fascinated by, and on Diabetes Awareness Week, the one thing I want to draw everyone's attention to is the fact that 90 per cent of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes, which is the preventable type. I am a big believer in prevention being better than cure.
I truly think by educating and increasing the awareness of diabetes and lifestyle modifications in our younger generations, we can facilitate a massive change in global healthcare and the burden of Diabetes and metabolic diseases.
Please give us some tips to control Diabetes.
Diabetes doesn't happen one day – it happens as a result of years of eating the wrong foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
The advice I will give is simple:
Eat less processed and sugary foods and move more.
Don't treat it as a phase or fad, but make long-term habit changes and stay consistent.
I advise the 80-20 rule; don't try and do 80 per cent of your good habits 20 per cent of the time; instead, do just 20 per cent but do it 80 per cent of the time.
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What are the factors British Indians should watch out for to prevent the disease?
Some signs can include:
Having PCOD or erectile dysfunction
Getting HANGRY – becoming ragingly hungry to the point your mood is affected
Developing central obesity – holding extra fat around your belly
These can be very early signs of the diabetic process.
Why is this issue particularly close to your heart?
Diabetes runs in my own family. Having worked in healthcare, I see first-hand the devastating multi-organ, multi-faceted effect diabetes can have on people's health and their livelihood. It can rob people's eyesight, render them disabled, housebound, unemployed due to limb amputations or painful leg ulcers and diabetic neuropathy and the many other organ problems diabetes affects.
I couldn't ignore how heavily diabetes has weighed down on the healthcare system, and I truly began wondering how much of an impact educating our population could do in preventing this illness.
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How do you strike that work-life-modelling balance?
I am currently in the process of moving to London for my training post for GP training. I am still continuing a lot of my health education work by creating educational content on social media etc, in collaboration with the online pharmacy company, Righdose, the multivitamin brand, Made4 and the mental health App, Mindlabs.
I have spent the last one year post passing down my Miss England crown, really focusing on my medical career progression. When I move to London, I look forward to working on even more exciting media projects to further my health education messages!