14th November was World Diabetes Day!
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, causing one’s blood glucose to rise too high. There are two major types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops producing any insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to survive. This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistance).
Some symptoms of diabetes include:
-Being very thirsty
-Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
-Frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
-Wounds that don’t heal
-Extreme unexplained fatigue
In some cases, there are no symptoms — this happens at times with type 2 diabetes. In this case, people can live for months, even years without knowing they have the disease.
Why is it important to understand diabetes and its symptoms?
Diabetes is a huge and growing burden: According to the International Diabetes Federation, 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040. One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed – many people live with type 2 diabetes for a long period of time without being aware of their condition, and by the time of diagnosis, diabetes complications may already be present. Furthermore, with increasing levels of poor nutrition and physical inactivity among children in many countries, type 2 diabetes in childhood has the potential to become a global public health issue leading to serious health outcomes.
But up to 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed by adopting healthier lifestyles, equivalent to up to 160 million cases by 2040, and with greater awareness, early detection and timely treatment, we can reduce the impact of diabetes on affected individuals and subsequently work towards making diabetes a less critical global health issue.
What can you do to help?
Wear blue clothes on 14th November next year to express your solidarity with the campaign, post a picture in support of the World Diabetes Day campaign using #WDD or simply share the following resources related to World Diabetes Day with your friends and your loved ones to spread awareness about the prevalence of diabetes 🙂
Interactive toolkit: http://www.idf.org/wdd-index/toolkit/EN/IDF_WDD_interactive_toolkit_static_EN.pdf