This year’s World Diabetes Day theme, eyes on diabetes, focused on the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.
It is estimated that one in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is listed as one of the top 10 causes of death in South Africa. Obesity, unhealthy diets, and a lack of physical activity have been listed as contributing factors.
Globally, 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in 10 adults by 2040.
Many people live with type 2 diabetes, which is when the body cannot use the insulin it produces, for a long period of time without being aware of their condition.
By the time of diagnosis, diabetes complications may already be present. Over time, it can cause serious damage and lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, kidney failure, impotence and amputation.
With increasing levels of poor nutrition and physical inactivity among children in many countries, type 2 diabetes in childhood has the potential to become a global public health issue leading to serious health outcomes.
If you are diabetic, you should follow a nutritionally sound diet accompanied with exercise to realise three important benefits:
» Achieve and maintain good control of your blood glucose levels;
» Regulate body weight; and
» Prevent or delay the potential long-term complications of diabetes.
Early detection, through screening, and timely treatment can prevent other ailments such as vision loss and reduce the impact of diabetes on individuals.
Controlling blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels are also important components of treatment, and type 2 diabetics may well (after a period of time) require supplementary insulin injections as well.
World Diabetes Day, celebrated annually on November 14, is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the United Nations resolution on diabetes.
The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness and signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.