✦ Diabetes is a condition that currently affects over half a billion people worldwide, a figure that is estimated to grow to 1.3 billion by the year 2050, according to a recent report by the world-respected medical journal The Lancet.
The chronic condition occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces, affecting men, women and children of all ages in every country in the world. There are two types of categorised diabetes: type-2 diabetes, which impacts roughly 90% of sufferers worldwide, is non-communicable and largely preventable, and type 1 diabetes, which is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections.
It is why World Diabetes Day is such a crucial date in the calendar in raising awareness and encouraging people to take measures to mitigate the threat of the condition, while lending invaluable support to sufferers. Held on November 14 every year to commemorate the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting (who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922), World Diabetes Day was founded in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the rising number of people suffering with the condition. The campaign reaches over 1 billion people globally each year and is currently recognised by 161 countries, with health professionals, diabetes advocates, media, the general public and government organisations all uniting to promote a universal message. Past themes have included diabetes education and prevention, healthy eating, women and diabetes, diabetes and obesity and diabetes and human rights.
This year’s theme, sustained since 2021, is ‘Access to Diabetes Care’, with the additional slogan ‘Know your risk, Know your response’. As the official World Diabetes Day website states, the 2023 campaign “focuses on the importance of knowing your risk of type 2 diabetes to help delay or prevent the condition and highlighting the impact of diabetes-related complications and the importance of having access to the right information and care to ensure timely treatment and management... [while providing] awareness and access to the correct information and best available medicines and tools to support self-care is vital to delay or prevent complications” for people living with diabetes. The occasion additionally provides thorough training and resources to healthcare professionals to enable them to detect complications early and provide the best possible care.
There are a variety of ways you can get involved to support the occasion, both prior, on and after the actual day itself. Some of the suggested ideas include organising an event such as a local crafts fair or a charity walk or run, and all activities can be shared online. There is an official Global Diabetes Walk, organised by the World Diabetes Foundation, which has seen over 5 million people participate since its inception in 2004 and which anyone can join.
The sharing of official information via the World Diabetes Day website is also encouraged, such as the type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool which helps people learn more about their individual risk. Similarly, there are a range of free educational courses and training that can be availed from the IDF School of Diabetes. There are also a range of visual assets that be downloaded and displayed in the local community, such as banners, infographics and posters. Last but not least you can help grow awareness of the Blue Circle, the official universal symbol for diabetes, via an official selfie app “developed to promote the blue circle in a fun and engaging way.”
The chances are we all know someone who is affected by diabetes and, according to the official research alluded to previously, the figures are only going to increase as the years go by. It is why supporting World Diabetes Day in any way you possibly can is so vital, so why not get involved this year and help a truly worthwhile cause?
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