World Diabetes Day: Everything You Need To Know About Diabetes
Today, as the international community commemorates World Diabetes Day (WDD), it is critical to understand the disease and take the required measures.
Every year on November 14th, the United Nations declares World Diabetes Day to raise awareness about diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done collectively and individually to improve diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and management.
The topic for the 2021 commemoration is “Access to Diabetes Care.”
The day also commemorates Sir Frederick Banting’s and Charles Herbert Best’s joint discovery of the Insulin hormone in 1922.
Insulin is a hormone that permits glucose from the blood to enter cells and provide energy to them.
But, first and foremost, what is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition in which the body’s blood glucose, often known as blood sugar, is excessively high.
Blood glucose is the primary source of energy, and it is obtained from the foods you eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, aids glucose absorption into cells for use as energy.
However, the body does not always produce enough—or any—insulin or does not utilise it effectively. The glucose will therefore remain in the circulation, unable to reach the cells, and having too much glucose in the blood can lead to health issues over time.
Although diabetes has no cure, steps can be taken to manage the condition and stay healthy. Sometimes referred to as “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes”, these terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says this year’s World Diabetes Day is taking place at the end of a year which has been intensive in terms of global advocacy for the disease.
The world body and partners used the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin to highlight the huge gap between the people who need it to control their diabetes, as well as essential technologies such as blood glucose meters and test strips, and those who actually have access.
The day also comes at a time when the world continues to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only resulted in high proportion of people with diabetes among hospitalised patients with severe manifestations of COVID-19 and among those who have succumbed to the virus, but has also led to severe disruption of diabetes services.
Meanwhile, there are different types of diabetes and the most common types are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin and body immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age.
People with Type 1 diabetes, therefore, need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, occurs when the body does not make or use insulin well and one can develop Type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they become pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born.
However, if a woman has had gestational diabetes, there is a greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life and sometimes, diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually Type 2 diabetes.
Other types of diabetes are those that are less common, which include monogenic diabetes which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
As a result, taking precautions to avoid the condition is critical, as some people are more prone to get Type 2 diabetes merely because they are 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight.
Other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include physical inactivity, race, and health issues such as high blood pressure.
As a result, it’s critical to change one’s lifestyle as they become older, because people with diabetes are more likely to suffer heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye difficulties, dental problems, nerve damage, and foot problems.
You can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a carbohydrate-controlled diet, and exercising regularly to enhance blood glucose control.
Artificial trans fats are exceedingly dangerous, and white bread, spaghetti, and other refined-flour foods have been shown to drastically increase blood sugar levels in patients, with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Packaged snacks, which are often produced with refined flour and have few nutrients, are another food to avoid.
Vegetables and fruits can be excellent food choices if consumed with caution and moderation in order to stay fit and healthy while managing the illness.