World Diabetes Day is every year on November 14, first created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organization. Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, if any at all. Unfortunately, it also leads to serious health conditions and, in many ways, can be preventable. That’s why we take this day to spread awareness and education.
History of World Diabetes Day
Diabetes is considered to have been around 1550 BC. However, the successful extraction and injection of insulin into humans was discovered in 1922. So, comparatively, our understanding of diabetes is quite new compared to its long, arduous march through history. The difference between type two and type one started around 1850 when medical professionals believed they knew enough of the difference between them to warrant two categories.
Since then, type II diabetes has ballooned to 90 per cent of those affected, with an estimated $425 million individuals worldwide. This alarming rise in such a preventable disease is one of the reasons the WHO and IDF wanted to create World Diabetes Day – to help spread awareness of how to prevent contracting the illness. Managing blood sugar levels daily is a time-consuming and costly endeavour, as the economic cost of diabetes globally is around $727 billion (USD). It costs almost a third of that in the US, at $245 billion.
The costliness and prevention create even more reason for us to spread awareness of the disease and celebrate the birth of the man who helped bring insulin into the modern world as an effective treatment against it.
How to Observe World Diabetes Day
- Wear the blue circle
- The blue circle logo is a global symbol of diabetes awareness. On World Diabetes Day, wear a t-shirt, necklace or bracelet with the logo or create one yourself to make others aware of this dangerous disease and its effects.
- Organize a diabetes fair
- Partner with health officials to sponsor a diabetes fair at your place of work or your neighbourhood. Offer diabetes screenings, disseminate information and brochures, and provide information on what people can do to prevent type II diabetes and stay healthy.
- Get Tested
- Symptoms of diabetes include but aren’t limited to excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. In addition, being overweight or obese greatly increases the chances of having type II diabetes. It’s estimated that 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. Use World Diabetes Day as a reminder to get tested if you have any risk factors or symptoms.
Why World Diabetes Day is Important
- It draws attention to the diabetes epidemic
- Over 25 years (from 1988 to 2013), diabetes diagnoses increased by roughly 380%. And these diagnoses are dangerous—by 2030, the World Health Organization predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. This condition demands attention—and that’s why having a whole day dedicated to it is crucial.
- Type II diabetes can be avoided
- World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to live our lives more healthfully. Type II diabetes can be limited through a healthy diet, regular physical activity and a normal weight. Tobacco use exacerbates type II diabetes as well and is best avoided.
- It’s a reminder to be educated about diabetes
- Type II diabetes has grown to epidemic proportions, but type I diabetes, formerly juvenile diabetes, is just as serious a health threat. Approximately 1.25 million Americans are diagnosed with type I diabetes, but the cause of the disease is unknown. However, the health effects are just as devastating as type II diabetes. World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to know the symptoms of diabetes, get tested, and get treatment.