November 14th is World Diabetes Day, and millions of people around the world will unite as part of the global awareness campaign of the diabetes community led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
There are currently approximately 366 million people living with diabetes in the world. In Ireland alone, the IDF estimates that, as of 2013, there were 207,490 people with diabetes in the 20–79 age group. This figure climbs to 225,840 when you encompass all those with diabetes and this number will grow in the coming years.
Diabetes is an incurable and costly, but largely preventable disease that affects people of all ages, rich or poor. There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. These share the same basic characteristic, whereby a body is unable to either to make or to use insulin, which then enables your body to use glucose.
You could be more at risk of developing type 1 diabetes based on your family history, injury or disease of the pancreas, environmental factors, and exposure to some viral infections. The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being researched. Risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes include family history, being overweight, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, increasing age, high blood pressure, and even ethnicity, among others. So, there are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to cut down your risk of developing diabetes.
Some of the more commonly experienced signs include frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, a tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet, and blurred vision, among others. However, symptoms can often be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes, making it more difficult to detect. If you do show these signs and symptoms, consult a health professional.
Everyone can support World Diabetes Day. The IDF website is a wonderful educational tool, social media can be used to spread awareness, wearing blue for diabetes can help in raising awareness and support for the cause, and there are a number of events being held around the world. Visit the Diabetes Ireland website to see what is happening in your area.
In Short: November 14th marks World Diabetes Day, a day created to raise awareness of an incurable and yet preventable disease affecting millions worldwide.