The 2019 theme for World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14 is ‘Family and 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. In 2012 alone diabetes cause 1.5 million deaths.
Worldwide 422 million adults are living with diabetes, which is four times what it was in 1980, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the Americas, approximately 65 million people are living with type 2 diabetes, largely due to obesity. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), this number is more than double the world average, with women more affected than men.
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.
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.
“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 WHO/PAHO reports.
For more information about diabetes, consult your general practitioner or contact the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten.