Wake up and smell the coffee on World Diabetes Day

by Mark Benson on November 12, 2012

World Diabetes Day is an official United Nations Day

This year sees World Diabetes Day fall on Wednesday, 14 November when it is hoped that activities by the International Diabetes Federation, which operates in 160 different countries, will bring diabetes to the attention of the worldwide media and the worldwide public. This is a Federation which has over 200 association members and one which continues to do very good work in the areas of diabetes prevention and diabetes cures.

We therefore thought that today would be an ideal moment to sit back and digests some of the shocking figures associated with diabetes. We warn you, some of these figures will shock and astound you and you will wonder why the situation has been allowed to develop for so long.

Rate of diabetes increase over the last 50 years

The rate of those developing diabetes over the last 50 years has increased by a phenomenal 700% and it is no surprise to see that diabetes is now one of the top three major concerns amongst the World Health Organisation with regards to the future of the human race. This may seem like a pessimistic view point but the reality is that an increase in development rates of 700% during the last five decades is a phenomenal rise.

Many experts believe that this rise can be traced back to a significant change in dietary habits and lifestyles which has led to diabetes type II now accounting for around 90% of new diabetes sufferers. That is not to say that diabetes type I is not increasing in prevalence but it is somewhat in the shadows of diabetes type II.

Diabetes deaths around the world

When we tell you that one person will die every seven seconds and a total of 4.6 million people lose their lives each and every year as a direct consequence of diabetes, this should bring the situation home. That’s right, by the time you read this paragraph it is likely that four or five people have died of diabetes yet many of us are still blissfully unaware of the dangers.

This figure of 4.6 million people on a worldwide basis is set to grow significantly over the next 20 or 30 years because even actions taken by governments today will take some time to filter through. The dangers of diabetes, both type I diabetes and type II diabetes, should not be underestimated and all of us need to make an effort as soon as possible to rectify the situation.

Diabetes and blindness

Even though there are a number of medical conditions which are directly associated with diabetes, how many of us actually associate blindness with this condition? It may astound many people to learn that diabetes is the number one cause of blindness around the world despite the fact that many people were blissfully unaware of the very strong connection between diabetes and blindness. In many ways it is blindness, as well as strokes, which are very visible to the naked eye which will bring home the threat of this condition. However, what a way to get the message across!

Those suffering in silence

We all know the dangers associated with diabetes which include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputations to name but a few, did you know that up to 50% of those suffering from diabetes on a worldwide basis may not yet be aware of their own personal situation? Yes, while the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow there is a hidden mass of people who have already developed the condition but may not yet be aware for a number of reasons.

If you take a step back and look at the situation, both type I diabetes and type II diabetes are treatable and if care is taken then there is no reason why individuals should not lead a relatively normal life. However, for those who do not yet know they have diabetes the situation is very different because some of the symptoms can be related to other medical conditions which are maybe not as life-threatening.

Education, education, education

World Diabetes Day is just one of many very popular and very strong public relations exercises carried out on a regular basis by the various diabetes charities and diabetes federations around the world. They do their utmost to ensure that the worldwide population, and indeed international governments, are fully aware of the dangers of diabetes but for some reason many of these facts aren’t yet hitting home.

There are still many people who underestimate the threat posed by their lifestyle, underestimate the threat posed by their exercise regime and underestimate the threat posed by their dietary habits. It is becoming more and more evident that many people are of the opinion that “it will not happen to me” when for as many as two out of three people over the next 50 years, diabetes could play a significant role in their own lives or the lives of their nearest and dearest. We need to educate all age groups, from schoolchildren to those in retirement, and ensure that each of us is fully aware of our obligations regarding our individual health and the potential threat which diabetes poses.

Support World Diabetes Day on 14 November

It is imperative that we all support World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2012 and ensure that the message continues to hit home with regards to governments and individuals around the world. Diabetes has in many ways crept up on us over the last 50 years and is now one of the major threats to the human race in the medium to longer term. Even though many governments around the world have reacted to the threat over the last few years, in some cases it has been too little too late and funds invested today to reduce instances of diabetes may not show any return until 10 or 20 years down the line.

Are you fully aware of the threat of diabetes? How would you compare your lifestyle to that associated with a pre-diabetes lifestyle? Have you ever discussed diabetes with your doctor and taken advice where there may be some symptoms of the condition? You can never be too careful with medical conditions such as diabetes which are potentially fatal for so many people.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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