November 9, 2009

World Diabetes Day.

The yearly global campaign to raise awareness of the diabetes epidemic culminates on November 14, World Diabetes Day. Introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organisation, the date was chosen to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting, the Canadian scientist, doctor and Nobel laureate, who led the University of Toronto team credited with the first practical extraction of insulin.

(The first one to do so was in fact Romanian physiologist Nicolae Paulescu, though his pioneering efforts are largely ignored due to his rather virulent

Although recognized since antiquity, diabetes was only understood at the beginning of the 20th century, when research led to an effective treatment – insulin injections. Prior to that, receiving the diagnosis was a death sentence. However, there is still no practical cure, and while 285 million people will be living with diabetes in 2010, their number is expected to reach
435 million by 2030. Nearly 95% of them will have to deliver their own care.

Accurate estimates of mortality attributable to diabetes is difficult to obtain, but complications caused by diabetes (eye, kidney, nerve, and circulatory system diseases) will likely cause 4.4 million premature deaths (that's eight people every minute) in 2010 - a 5.5% increase over estimates for 2007. More deaths are expected among women than men, as diabetes already is a proportionally greater contributor to female mortality.

Though one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, diabetes is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. If undetected, among children the disease can be fatal or result in serious brain damage. Currently an estimated 440,000 children live with diabetes worldwide; 70,000 children under 15 develop the disease each year (that's almost 192 kids each day).

World Diabetes Day has featured a different theme each year, though currently Diabetes Education and Prevention has been chosen as the theme for the period 2009-2013, with the campaign slogan for 2009 being Understand Diabetes and Take Control. So take time on Saturday to educate yourself and spread awareness (Canadian activities listed here). It can be as simple as wearing something blue.

Note: this is an expanded and updated version of an article originally published on November 13, 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin