A chronic disease with many potential complications, diabetes is a growing concern in the US and across the world. “World Diabetes Day (WDD)” is observed worldwide on November 14 every year to raise awareness and educate communities about the escalating health threat posed by the disease.
Jointly launched by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991, WDD is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign aims at spreading awareness about the disease, its causes and complications, its management, and how it can be prevented.
Diabetes affects about 382 million people worldwide. It is estimated that, by the end of 2040, more than 640 million people will be living with this chronic disease. According to the 2017 national statistics report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30.3 million people in the US have diabetes. Higher than normal blood glucose levels pose an increased risk of developing severe health complications such as high blood pressure, vision loss, cholesterol, leg and feet amputation, kidney failure and premature death. Diabetic neuropathy is a common nerve disorder caused by poor blood sugar control that affects up to half of all diabetic patients.
This event indicates the need for people to join together to take adequate steps towards promoting a healthy life style. A sedentary lifestyle combined with unhealthy food choices has led to an alarming increase in cases of diabetes. Therefore, following a healthy lifestyle combining regular physical exercises and healthy diet is important to prevent diabetes and to manage it. A healthy diet would include fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Exercise can help people to lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. For instance, individuals above 45 years of age are in the high risk zone particularly if they are overweight. It is essential for such people to enroll in weight loss programs and do preventive health check-ups to better manage the condition.
The official theme for 2017 WDD campaign is “Women and Diabetes – Our right to a healthy future”. It is reported that one in ten women live with diabetes, but not all women have the same access to education, treatment and care. The 2017 event is specifically designed to improve the affordability and accessibility for diabetes care worldwide to help women with this condition better manage their disease and improve their health outcomes. A wide range of events and activities are conducted on a global scale to raise awareness, and to drive prevention and early detection of this disease.