Education and Prevention Are Focus of World Diabetes Day

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Monday, November 14, 2011
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With the prevalence of diabetes growing to epidemic proportions, the theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day centers on education and prevention.

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14 to commemorate the birth day of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients. It was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses, and became an official United Nations Day in 2007.

The annual observance is designed to raise global awareness of diabetes and its escalating rates worldwide, and to help prevent the disease. WHO estimates that more than 346 million individuals have diabetes, a number that is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. This year is the second of a 5-year period campaign to address the growing need for diabetes education and prevention programs.

In recognition of World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated by more than 160 countries and territories, we’ve of Pharmacy Times have compiled resources for pharmacists and other health care providers who care for patients with diabetes.

Facts about Diabetes
  • Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Hyperglycemia is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time results in serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
  • Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue.
  • Type 2 diabetes, which results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin, affects 90% of those with diabetes, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and is among the leading causes of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes and its complications have a significant economic impact on individuals, families, health systems and countries.
  • Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, it is recommended that individuals achieve and maintain healthy body weight; remain physically active; eat a healthy diet; and avoid tobacco use.
  • Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels.
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