In order to raise awareness and provide education about diabetes worldwide, World Diabetes Day (WDD) is observed on November 14 every year. The primary goal behind this global awareness campaign is to spread word about the impact of diabetes, its causes and complications and how it can be effectively managed and controlled. It draws attention to key issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps the condition firmly in the public and political spotlight. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) that causes high blood sugar levels, affects about 425 million people around the world. It is estimated that by the end of 2030, approximately 522 million people will have diabetes. This chronic condition is a leading cause of several health complications such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, vision loss, kidney failure, lower limb amputation 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.
WDD was first created in 1991 as a joint initiative between the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. However, with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225 in 2006, this campaign became an official United Nations Day. The day marked the birthday of “Sir Frederick Banting”, who co-discovered insulin along with “Charles Best” in 1922. Over the years, the scope of the campaign widened, reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries.
The worldwide campaign takes coordinated and concerted efforts to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue. It plans to educate the general public about the primary symptoms and potential risk factors associated with the condition and identify people who remain undiagnosed. Most cases of diabetes go undiagnosed for years, even after the onset of the disease, with reports suggesting about 1 in 2 people (212 million) remaining undiagnosed.
WDD plays a fundamental role in educating people about the need to identify the disease in its early stages or even prevent it if possible. A sedentary lifestyle combined with unhealthy food habits can lead to an increase in the number of cases of diabetes. Incorporating a healthy lifestyle by giving equal importance to regular physical exercise and healthy fiber rich foods can reverse the complications of this condition. Regular physical activity can help people shed body weight and lower blood sugar levels. Getting enrolled in weight-loss programs offered by multi-specialty pain management centers and conducting preventive health-checkups can bring blood sugar levels under control.
The global diabetes awareness event is represented by a “Blue Circle” logo that was adopted in 2007 (after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes). The blue color signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
The official theme for WDD campaign for 2018 is – “The Family and Diabetes” – which raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected. The theme also promotes the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes. A wide range of events and activities around the world including – lectures, conferences, workshops and seminars for health and public policy professionals, free screening programs, sporting events, poster/leaflet distributions and events to highlight diabetes in local and national media, (including television, newspapers and Internet publications) mark the day. “Going Blue” is another way to mark the day, where people wear blue and landmark buildings and monuments around the world are lit up in blue, to help spread awareness of the day.
Join WDD observance to spread word about diabetes! Incorporate healthy lifestyle habits and perform regular health check-ups to bring your sugar levels under control.