Theme 2015 : “Healthy Living starts at Breakfast”
Close to 350 million people in the world have diabetes, and the prevalence is rising rapidly, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. There is much all of us can do to minimize our risk of getting the disease and, even if we do get it, to live long and healthy lives with it.
People who have diabetes lose their ability to properly regulate their blood sugar. Out-of-control blood sugar can lead to nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.
Most people with diabetes have a form of the illness — type 2 — that disproportionately strikes people who are overweight and sedentary. This means that the steps we take to steer clear of type 2 diabetes are the same steps we can take to maintain good health.
“Steps” is the right word. Anyone who can stand instead of sit, walks a little bit more each day and is generally more active should do so.
Diabetes also affects our wallets. Many who suffer complications lose their incomes because they cannot work. Moreover, treatment can be expensive. Insulin is unaffordable for many people in low- and middle-income countries, where most people with diabetes live. Even in high-income countries the cost has increased in recent years beyond the reach of many. For those people who produce none of their own insulin — as in type 1 of the disease — going without insulin is a death sentence.
Just as individuals must take steps to live healthy lives, so can Governments create enabling environments. Health facilities can expand care for diabetes. The private sector can improve the availability and affordability of healthier products and essential medicines.
The world recently took a major step in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and incorporating a target to reduce by one third the deaths attributed to non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, by 2030.
On World Diabetes Day, let us recognize the progress we have made, but let us also acknowledge that it is not yet enough. Let us all step up to limit the impact of diabetes.
Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations.
World Health Day will provide an important platform for promoting efforts to prevent diabetes and ensure optimal management of the condition for people living with one of the various forms of disease.
Multiple actions can be done to reduce the impact of diabetes, through adopting healthy lifestyles, such as partaking in physical activity and healthy diets, to government action on curbing the marketing of unhealthy foods and ensuring health systems provide the required services and care for people living with the disease.
World Health Day 2016 on diabetes
Through World Health Day 2016, WHO will seek to:
- increase awareness about the rise in diabetes, and its staggering burden and consequences, in particular in low-and middle-income countries;
- trigger a set of specific, effective and affordable actions to tackle diabetes. These will include steps to prevent diabetes and diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes;
- launch the first Global report on diabetes which will describe the burden and consequences of diabetes and advocate for stronger health systems to ensure improved surveillance, enhanced prevention, and more effective management of diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar, which gives us the energy we need to live. Unable to get into the cells to be burned as energy, the sugar can build up to harmful levels in the blood.
In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80% of them occurring in low- and middle-income countries. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7thleading cause of death by 2030.
There are two main forms of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes typically make none of their own insulin and therefore require insulin injections for survival. People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90% of all cases, usually produce their own insulin, but not enough or they are unable to use it properly. People with type 2 diabetes are typically overweight and sedentary.
Over time, high blood sugars can wreak havoc on every major organ system in the body, causing heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, impotence and infections that can lead to amputations.
But, properly treated, the impact of diabetes can be minimised. Even people with type 1 diabetes can live long and healthy lives if they keep their blood sugars under tight control.
Forum : November 14 - World Diabetes Day
On World Diabetes Day, UN calls for greater action to turn tide of growing global epidemic