World Diabetes Day raises global awareness of diabetes - its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent the illness in most cases. Started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and WHO, the Day is celebrated on November 14 to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.
WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia).
Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is characterized by a lack of insulin production. Symptoms include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity. Symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1 diabetes, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children.
Gestational diabetes is hyperglycaemia that is first recognized during pregnancy. Symptoms of gestational diabetes are similar to Type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is most often diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than reported symptoms.
My daddy was a diabetic and many of the members on his side of the family are either diabetic or pre diabetic. I am scared of becoming a diabetic and attempt to do all that I can to prevent it. Several years ago I was overweight – about 50lbs over. I began working out and changing my eating habits. I didn’t go on a diet but moreso a lifestyle change. This was/is my first initial way of prevention. I have had friends that are/were diabetic. I have seen how it has changed their lives and how it has impacted mine. We all need to be aware of diabetes as well as other diseases. I believe that many have a friend and/or loved one that is diabetic and we should educate ourselves and be better aware on this day going forward.
For more information on WHO and World Diabetes Day (HERE)Diabetes Key Facts
- 347 million people worldwide have diabetes1.
- In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high blood sugar.
- More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- WHO projects that diabetes deaths will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030.
- Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.