World Diabetes Day, which falls on November 14, is a significant day in the diabetes calendar. International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization have earmarked this day to take forward an awareness campaign every year on diabetes prevention and control that engages millions of people around the world. The slogan this year, "Diabetes: Protect Our Future" aims to concentrate global effort on protecting the world population, especially the younger generation from a health menace that is seriously threatening to undermine our quality of life.
Stay Away from Diabetes
AdvertisementDiabetes is a condition in which the sugar level in the blood rises abnormally. This happens if there is insufficient insulin, (the hormone produced by the pancreas), or if the cells in the body resist insulin, thereby preventing the right amount of glucose from entering the cells. Insulin is necessary for the cells to absorb glucose—the body's main fuel that helps cells to produce energy, grow and function properly.
Diabetes which was once touted as a 'rich man's disease' has now assumed alarming epidemic proportions at the global level due to the adverse impact of modern lifestyle. Apart from certain genetic dispositions, the main reasons for the onset of diabetes are obesity prompted by unhealthy eating habits, long hours of physical inactivity in front of the computer or TV and stress overload. Long term complications of diabetes include problems of the heart, kidneys, eyes, foot and sexual problems as well. Studies show that fluctuating blood levels weaken the body's immune system exposing diabetics easily to tuberculosis and other infections.
Drawing World Attention to Diabetes
The International Diabetes Federation and its more than 200 member associations across the globe use the platform that World Diabetes Day offers each year to sensitize the general public on the mammoth proportions of the toll diabetes takes on the quality of human life. Around the world, NGOs, health departments, hospitals, healthcare professionals, companies, people with diabetes and their families pitch in to promote various activities aimed at keeping diabetes in public spotlight. Walkathons, cycle rallies, sports events in schools and colleges, poster campaigns, workshops and seminars on diabetes prevention, management and control, free Glucose tolerance test and health screening for diabetes and its complications, raising diabetes awareness through the media, are some of the popular means of highlighting the need to fight diabetes.
How to Distance Yourself from Diabetes?
To step up the campaign against diabetes and keep the momentum going, International Diabetes Federation and its member associations around the world, decided on a theme for the period 2009-2013—Diabetes Education and Prevention. The idea behind the five year campaign is to evolve strategies for preventing and controlling diabetes and its complications. Some simple guidelines if followed, can delay the onset of diabetes even if there is family history. Early diagnosis can keep a check on the disorder and prevent it from spiraling into serious complications that can lead to blindness, amputation, kidney disease and heart disease.
Some Simple Tips to Prevent Diabetes:
• Eat smaller meals with less fat, more fiber, fruit and vegetables. Dump the traditional idea of eating 3 full meals a day with too much carbohydrates
• Cut down on sugar and fats, consciously. Watch your weight and your body mass index (BMI)
• Don't sit for long hours. Even if you have a desk job take frequent breaks to bend, stretch and move your body
• Walk briskly everyday for 30 minutes at least, if you are not into routine physical exercise
• Practice meditation/yoga to keep your mind free from tension and stress overload
• If you have a family history of diabetes, or an unhealthy lifestyle, go for diabetes check up once in 6 months after the age of 30 years
Fight Diabetes, Now!
With childhood obesity looming large, the onset of diabetes is hitting people at very a young age. It is the collective responsibility of all grownups to protect the future of our young ones and the world as well. We need to educate the younger generation on the debilitating effects of diabetes and teach them to lead an active, productive and healthy life. The message that is spelt loud and clear everywhere on the eve of World Diabetes Day 2012 is: Don't live carelessly and allow diabetes to defeat you. It makes sense to live simply, eat wisely, exercise regularly and live happily—away from diabetes.