Sunday, November 14 marked World Diabetes Day (WDD) which was observed around the globe to raise awareness.
The 2021 theme for WDD was, ‘Access to Diabetes Care: If not now, when?’
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “After 100 years since the discovery of insulin, access to diabetes care continues to be a challenge in many countries.
“This year’s World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to highlight the urgent need to increase access for diabetes diagnosis and treatment, in order to prevent complications and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create many challenges in health care, especially to ensure continuity of essential services and medications for people living with 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.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, would like the community to know that diabetes can be prevented and controlled, and encourages persons to eat more vegetables and fruits – ½ of your plate; aim for color and variety, and remember that potatoes don’t count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate because of their negative impact on blood sugar.
Go for whole grains – ¼ of your plate. Whole and intact grains—whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice etc., and try and have three healthy balance meals per day and check under your feet regularly and remain in regular contact with your physician to ensure medical management of your diabetes.
Many people are not aware that they have type 2 diabetes, understand the risk factors, the signs/symptoms, and to seek prompt medical care if diabetes is suspected.
The number of adults is now living with diabetes worldwide according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is approximately 537 million, “a rise of 16% (74 million) since the previous IDF estimates in 2019.
IDF says that the “…new figures are taken from the upcoming 10th Edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, which will be published on December 6.
“The latest IDF Diabetes Atlas reports that the global prevalence of diabetes has reached 10.5%, with almost half (44.7%) of adults undiagnosed.
“IDF projections show that by 2045, 783 million adults will be living with diabetes – or one in eight adults. This would be an increase of 46%, more than double the estimated population growth (20%) over the same period.”
“Diabetes can be prevented through public health policies and lifestyle changes that support healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weights, and it can be controlled to prevent complications. If diabetes affects you or your family, make sure to follow a healthy lifestyle and adhere to treatment,” the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization reports.
For more information about diabetes, consult your general practitioner or contact the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten.