World Diabetes Day (WDD)
which falls on 14th November
every year came into
inception in 1991 and was the brain child of the International Diabetes
and the World Health Organization and
primarily was an answer
to tackle the increasing numbers of diabetes cases worldwide. In collaboration with member associations,
the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) disseminates vital education on
management and prevention of diabetes, all through the year. This is the second year of the five year
, which will seek to advance the goals of the main
theme " Diabetes education and prevention"
with specific focus on the
theme for World Diabetes Day 2010
- 'Let's take control of diabetes now.'
Importance of Diabetes Education and Prevention
In keeping with
the main theme of Diabetes Education and Prevention, the initiatives sound a
wake-up call to all those who can make a difference to diabetes.
• People at the
helm of affairs in healthcare and in the government need to improve strategies
and policies for diabetes care and management.
• Victims must
appreciate the power of knowledge about the condition which is the route to
better management of the disease and avert its major complications.
• For the rest,
it is to understand the risks and warning signs of diabetes to catch it
In effect, The
World Diabetes Day 2010, endeavors to spread greater awareness of the risk
factors of diabetes and inspire best-practices in the prevention and treatment
Managing diabetes is easier with awareness and knowledge
about the disease. Victims of diabetes are required to take medication, check
and monitor their blood glucose,, make appropriate lifestyle changes, adopt a
certain degree of physical fitness, and adjust to a diabetes- friendly
diet. So, victims have to constantly
take decisions which will impact the management of the disease.
Diabetes education plays a crucial role as it helps families
make informed decisions. It is therefore of paramount importance that skilled
health professionals impart superior quality diabetes education customized to
victims' needs. Education will also
better equip victims to address the psycho-social issues as well as to make
behavioral changes, all of which will give them an advantage in taking control
On the flip side, lack of education will result in
reduced health outcomes and increased risk of diabetes related complications.
The overriding challenges to providing diabetes education worldwide
are cost, lack of proper services and distance
. Further, people are unaware of the existence of such services and many are of
the opinion that the consultation with their physician suffices.
The World Diabetes Day recognizes that structured diabetes education
programmes are sacrosanct to the prevention and control of diabetes.
There is a need for improving diabetes education within healthcare
systems and communities.
The IDF is mainly working to address lacunae in diabetes education worldwide.
Focus has shifted to improving diabetes education in developing countries,
where there are not enough educators or centers that can impart dedicated
diabetes awareness. To address this
problem, The IDF proposes to set up a strong network of diabetes education
centers that can take diabetes education forward.
More than 285
million people worldwide are battling diabetes and according to predictions by
IDF, this figure may go up to 435 million by 2030
, especially in the absence of
diabetes education and prevention programmes. This makes prevention of diabetes
an important goal during 2009-2013.
Though Type 1 diabetes
cannot be prevented, Type 2 diabetes can be offset by making lifestyle changes-
maintaining weight, eating healthy and regular exercise
China, Finland and the United States are shining examples of success in
management of diabetes with lifestyle modifications, and should be a template
for other nations to follow.
As a first step, it is imperative to identify all those at
high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes with the help of a simple questionnaire
that will evaluate risk factors such as age, gestational history,
cardiovascular history, and waist circumference. Once identified, people at
high risk of diabetes should undergo evaluation of their plasma glucose levels
to check for Impaired Fasting Glucose or Impaired Glucose Tolerance, which are
pointers for risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes:
• Family history of diabetes
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Glucose intolerance
• Lack of exercise
• High cholesterol
• Consumption of fatty foods
• Ethnicity (Hispanics, Indigenous peoples, Asians and African Americans have shown greater
incidences of diabetes)
• History of gestational diabetes
Evidence based studies have showed that Type 2 diabetes can be offset with regular exercise
and weight management. It is here that the role of the healthcare expert as
educator assumes great significance to assist people in understanding the risks
of diabetes and focus on practical goals to prevent its onset.
It is recommended that those at high risk of Type 2 diabetes undertake at
least 30 minutes of daily exercise, which could be swimming, cycling, dancing,
or brisk walking. Research has shown that regular walking for at least 30
minutes cuts the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.
Investing in diabetes education and prevention programmes will be a shot
in the arm for the nation's economy as well as the healthcare system. Further,
education about the condition may bail many victims out of the life threatening
complications and those at high risk of diabetes may just be able to avoid it