Diabetes is a serious global health threat, and on Saturday, 14 November 2020, we’re drawing attention to the key issues and keeping diabetes firmly in the global public spotlight. World Diabetes Day is known as the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign. It empowers those with diabetes through support, education and information, as well as providing awareness to all and high-risking factors associated with diabetes and promoting healthy lifestyles.
World Diabetes Day
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the Health World Organisation (WHO) established World Diabetes Day (WDD) in 1991 in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. This awareness campaign reaches a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries annually.
The Blue Circle Logo represents diabetes and was adopted in 2007. It signifies the unity of the global community in response to the rising number of people affected by diabetes. This year, the theme for WDD is The Nurse and Diabetes. Nurses account for 59% of health professionals, and they play a crucial role in supporting people living with diabetes.
Better education and funding is needed to assist nurses in assisting patients with a number of challenges they face. Nurses are often the first, and sometimes the only, health professionals that a person interacts with and therefore their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.
Over 460 million people are living with diabetes, yet 1 in 2 people with diabetes are undiagnosed, and the majority have type 2 diabetes. The number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030.
Diabetes is serious and if left untreated or not well managed may lead to heart disease, blindness, amputation, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction or impotence. With careful management, this may be delayed and even prevented, but early detection is important.
- Type 1 diabetes usually starts in people under the age of 30, and the onset is sudden and dramatic. It occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, and these people must inject insulin to survive.
- Type 2 diabetes makes up for about 85 – 90% of diabetes cases. It occurs when the insulin produced is either not enough or does not work properly. Most type 2 diabetes is over the age of 40 and are usually overweight and does not exercise. This can be treated successfully with medication, exercise to lose weight as well as adjustable eating patterns.
The symptoms of diabetes include the following, however many people with Type 2 diabetes may show no symptoms:
- Unusual thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- Blurred vision
- Frequent or recurring infections
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, boils and itching skin
- Tingling and numbness in the hands or feet
If you’re curious about diabetes and want to learn more about the A to Z of diabetes, Diabetes South Africa is a useful resource to consult. They have a branch in Pretoria as well as other provinces, should you want to share with friends and family. On their website, you’ll find all the information you require from a recipe book to a support group network.
Have you been tested for diabetes lately? Rather be safe than sorry, get tested today.