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    Diabetes Education and Prevention

    World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. Celebrated on November 14 every year, the World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007. November 14 also marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.

    The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day is: “Diabetes Education and Prevention”. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by the year 2030 without intervention. In 2005, WHO estimated that 1.1 million people died from diabetes. Almost 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Almost half of diabetes deaths occur in people under the age of 70 years; 55 percent of diabetes deaths are in women. World Diabetes Day raises global awareness of diabetes, its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent the disease (in most cases).



    We need to learn about our risk for diabetes and learn ways to prevent or manage those risk factors.

    Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

    There are two types of diabetes:

    Type 1 diabetes is a deficit in insulin production and usually requires daily insulin injections.
    Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not effectively use the insulin that it produces.


    While it is not known how to prevent type -1 diabetes, research has demonstrated that maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active can prevent or delay the onset of type -2 diabetes.
    According to the WHO, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 percent of all cases of diabetes in the world.

    The onset type 2 diabetes is mainly as a result of physical inactivity and excess weight. Historically only seen in adults, it is now occurring more in children. It often presents no symptoms in early stages but when symptoms occur, they can present as:

    • Frequent urination
    • Excessive thirst
    • Increased hunger
    • Weight loss
    • Tiredness
    • Lack in interest and concentration
    • To avoid type 2 diabetes, practice the following healthy lifestyle habits:
    • Get regular physical activity.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and saturated fat.
    • Avoid tobacco products.
    • Have your blood sugar checked by your health care provider.
    • Know your numbers – Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Measurement.



    Diabetes can be diagnosed with a simple blood test to measure the amount of sugar in your blood after a fasting period. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimizing the effects of diabetes. Treatment of diabetes is focused on lowering blood sugar and reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that may cause blood vessel damage.

    Treatment may consist of oral medication or insulin.

    Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the WHO, 50 percent of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease. Undiagnosed, untreated or poorly managed diabetes can cause very serious complications such as:

    • Blood vessel damage
    • Damage to the heart
    • Damage to eyes, kidneys and nerves


    We need to be proactive in living healthy lives by avoiding preventable illnesses, rather than look for cure after ignorance has done the damage.

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